Fingers feeling numb? Getting that weird pins-and-needle sensation, particularly in the morning? Did you hear that it is a common pregnancy symptom? Well, it is Yes and a No! It is usually not a serious problem and resolves within few months after delivery.
The most probable cause for numbness in fingers is carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). CTS is caused by the accumulation of fluid in the tissues of the wrist. This accumulation puts pressure on the nerve that innervates the hand and fingers. This makes your grip weaker, and also leads to numbness and tingling in hands and fingers. It is more common during the second and third trimester and may affect the whole hand or just a few fingers. The risk of developing CTS increases if you have a family history of this syndrome. History of back, neck and shoulder issues also increases the chance of CTS during pregnancy. Being overweight is another risk factor for CTS. Thus women who are carrying more than one baby or were overweight before pregnancy have elevated the risk of CTS during pregnancy.
Controlling your body weight is the best way to prevent CTS during pregnancy. Cut down on salt and sugar, and opt for healthy snacks. Include more fruits and vegetables in your diet and do not forget to keep yourselves well hydrated. Wearing a good, supportive maternity bra will help in taking the weight off the breastbone. This will prevent extra pressure from loading on the median nerve, the nerve that innervates hands. Avoiding curling your fingers while sleeping will also help in reducing the chance of pressurizing median nerve.
To reduce the pain, place your hand in cold water or keep a bag of frozen peas in the affected area. Keep your hands raised whenever possible to prevent accumulation of fluid. Gently exercising the hands, wrists, and fingers will help in moving the fluid from the hands. Leaving a leaf of white cabbage on the affected hand is supposed to help in drawing out the excess fluid from the hand. Gentle massage will also help in alleviating this condition.