Pregnancy related pain and / or numbness in the hand and fingers (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome)

Pain, tingling and numbness in the hand and / or fingers, might indicate that the nerves in the wrist are being compressed. This is what is known as carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).



  • Pain and numbness in your palm and fingers which can occasionally affect your arm.
  • Weakness in the thumb or difficulty gripping things.
  • The symptoms often start slowly and come and go but are usually worse at night.


  • Change in hormones.
  • Increased swelling due to increased fluids in the body during pregnancy.
  • Obesity in pregnancy has been linked to carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Often painful with breast or bottle feeding due to position of the wrist.
  • Can often be worse at night and when in prolonged positions i.e. driving.

Here is what the evidence says about the treatment options for carpal tunnel syndrome:


Wrist splintevidence suggests that the use of a wrist splint at night may help carpal tunnel syndrome in the short term. Often in pregnancy carpal tunnel symptoms are temporary and settle after the birth. We would therefore recommend the use of the following splint to help manage symptoms.



Yogaevidence is available but limited when it comes to yoga and carpal tunnel symptoms. This study did show benefit when compared to no treatment or splinting alone.

There are lots of Online Yoga programmes available, have a look at our Top 5 here (and why we love them)!



Pilates – This is another exercise that is safe and effective during pregnancy. Pilates can help circulation and swelling in the extremities, it has also been shown to improve birth outcomes for the mother and baby.

Have a look at our Top 5 online Pilates programmes here.


Steroid injection – This still remains a very effective and fast method for reducing the symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. There have been a lot of studies looking into the effectiveness of injections and most support their use in the short to medium term. Please contact your GP or local Physiotherapist to discuss this further.


AcupunctureEvidence has shown that acupuncture can be a safe and suitable therapeutic method in treating carpal tunnel syndrome. Please speak to your local AACP registered Physiotherapist regarding this type of treatment. It is usually pain free and you tend to see quite quick results with acupuncture if it is going to work.



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Please Note:
Although the posts on this site are written by fully qualified Physiotherapists, the advice is of a generalist nature and could not take into account the particular physical or medical condition of individual audience members. The information given is meant to be practical and informative but is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. The information available is not meant to replace any relationship that exists between an audience member and their GP, hospital specialist or other healthcare professional. If you are after individual advice or you are concerned about any of your symptoms you must consult your own therapist or healthcare provider.

About The Author

Abigail Taylor qualified as a Physiotherapist in 2005. She has a special interest in Women’s health Physiotherapy and research. Abigail is the founder of ‘Pain in the Bump’ which she developed whilst on her maternity leave with her second baby.