Why do my hands go numb when I sleep?
Although it does not usually occur until later in pregnancy
, I think you have carpal tunnel syndrome. You may have heard of this condition occurring in people who engage in repetitive motions with their hands, such as typing on a computer or playing the piano. When it occurs in pregnancy
it is not due to repetitive motion but to the swelling of the tissues in your wrists; this swelling places pressure on the carpal tunnel through which the nerves to your hands run, and as a result you experience numbness or pain in your hands. You're more uncomfortable at night or early morning because your arms have been inactive while sleeping. There are several things you can try to relieve this:
- Don't sleep on your arms, as that will increase pressure against the nerves.
- Hang the affected arm over the side of the bed and shake it vigorously.
- Take a daily vitamin B6 tablet.
- Do arm reaching exercises: Raise one arm over your head and wiggle your fingers; repeat with the other arm.
- Massage your fingers: Gently push each finger back as far as you comfortably can, holding the pressure for a few seconds; then firmly massage each finger from the nail to the base.
- Consult an acupuncture physician, as this form of healing may help.
- Discuss the problem with your midwife or physician, who may suggest a wrist splint to support the swollen tissues. If the numbness lasts all day, you may need an injection of steroid in the wrist to reduce the swelling. This will not affect the baby as the medicine stays at the wrist and is very small in amount.
I know these symptoms are uncomfortable, but the good news is that your carpal tunnel syndrome will disappear after your pregnancy