Achy hands in pregnancy

If your hands feel numb or 'dead' sometimes, or you get pins and needles in your fingers, don't worry - it's part of pregnancy!

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As well as the amazing growing bump, there are lots of other strange ways in which your body reacts to pregnancy. Unfortunately, while fulsome hair and (possibly) a rosy glow are on the upside, there are several pregnancy discomforts on the downside.

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Pains in your hands
Because some of the tissue in your body expands during pregnancy and muscles change, you will find that you have more of a tendency towards back ache and pins and needles.
In your hands, you might get a sensation rather like that of RSI (repetitive strain injury) which is often suffered by typists or other people who do small repetitive movements which put a strain on the nerves running into your hands.
You might find your hands feel numb, like when you sleep on your arm at night, or that they feel tingly.
This is because the wrist tissue swells and causes the nerves to stretch in order to operate correctly.
You may also find you get it in your feet.

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What to do about it
If you were suffering from this regularly through normal life, it would be advisable to see a physiotherapist, who can look at whether muscles or joints elsewhere are causing this strain on your nerves. Sometimes the therapy can last quite a few months.
Happily, during pregnancy the problem is usually only temporary.
If you do repetitive work (say, at a computer keyboard), make sure you have the right wrist-support to suit your needs and that your chair and computer are always positioned correctly. For example, if you desk-share, take time to adjust it to your needs each day you are working.
Try to relax and ease your shoulders and limbs with a soothing bath or some yoga techniques when you have some down-time.
Think about the kinds of activities you are doing. Don’t over-stretch your arms and shoulders by carrying heavy things or working your upper body too hard. (Try an experiment: do your arms hurt after a couple of seconds if you reach up to get something from a cupboard? They shouldn’t normally!)
If you are knitting booties for the baby, make sure you take lots of breaks and don’t sit doing small repetitive movements for hours on end!
Talk to your GP about it if it gets seriously bad.

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