Carpal Tunnel Post Pregnancy

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel post pregnancy is a common condition affecting new mothers. Carpal tunnel post pregnancy occurs due to an increased pressure on your median nerve at your wrist. Symptoms of carpal tunnel post pregnancy can include pins and needles, numbness, tingling, and pain in your arm, hand, and fingers. Your wrist has a space in it called the carpal tunnel.  This is where your median nerve and nine tendons pass from your forearm into your hand. Carpal tunnel post pregnancy happens when pressure builds up from swelling in this tunnel. The increase in swelling puts pressure on your nerve, effectively causing a pinched nerve.

Fluid retention during your pregnancy can contribute to carpal tunnel post pregnancy. The fluid retention may disappear soon after your baby is born, however, many women report an increase in carpal tunnel symptoms after delivery.  This is caused by continued early postpartum swelling and constant wrist bending required in caring for and feeding your baby. There may multiple contributing factors in you getting carpal tunnel post pregnancy, including arthritis, previous fractures or nerve irritation due to repetitive, prolonged, and/or vigorous wrist movements.   In carpal tunnel post pregnancy numbness or tingling is mostly in your thumb, second, middle, and ring fingers. The symptoms are more likely to be experienced during the night but can occur during daily activities such as driving a car or feeding your baby. Postpartum mothers may sometimes notice their grip strength is weaker, some occasional clumsiness or an increased tendency to drop things.

What can you do about Carpal Tunnel Post Pregnancy?

At City Physiotherapy we will perform a thorough assessment of your wrist, symptoms, relevant medical history and body biomechanics.  We will then give you treatment and provide you with valuable education and tools to minimise your symptoms. If left untreated, the pressure on your nerves will not magically go away by itself. It is imperative to receive treatment as early as possible to help relieve the pressure on your nerve around the carpal tunnel, allowing for the swelling to reduce sooner.

In the meantime you can:

  • Try to maintain your wrist in a neutral position (not bent forward or backward) with your daily activities.
  • Try using a supportive pillow to prop up your baby during feeding so you aren’t supporting the weight of your baby on your wrist.
  • Don’t carry heavy washing baskets or bags of shopping. Try and get others to assist you where possible.
  • Avoid a sustained pinch/grip, (ie over gripping cooking utensils when chopping or peeling or pegging out heaving washing such as wet towels and sheets – I find using a drying rack better as you don’t need to peg as much)
  • Ensure you take regular rest and stretch breaks from daily activities to prevent overuse


Treatment can vary but may include, posture rehab strengthening exercises, taping or strapping for support, nerve glides, stretching, dry needling and other manual therapies.  Our Physiotherapists can also fit you with a supportive wrist brace which you can wear during the day and also at night. This can be most helpful to minimise pressure on your median nerve and reduce swelling, which will help your carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms.


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