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Are you experiencing hand and finger joint pain during your pregnancy? If so, you’re not alone. Many pregnant women experience this type of pain, especially in the later stages of their pregnancies. While the cause of hand and finger joint pain is not entirely known, there are a few things that you can do to help relieve the pain. In this blog post, we will discuss what causes hand and finger joint pain during pregnancy and present some tips on how to relieve the pain. We hope that this information will be helpful for you. Thank you for reading!
But first off, how do I know all of this?
Hi — I’m Hilary — The Pregnancy Nurse 👩⚕️. I have been a nurse since 1997 and I have 20 years of OB nursing experience, I am also the curly head behind Pulling Curls and The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. 🩺 I have helped thousands of women triage their aches and pains during pregnancy. I can help you possibly treat it at home or if you should be seen.
Before we get started, finger or hand pain could be a break or something more serious. If the pain is sharp, especially with specific movements I would contact a health provider.
What are the causes of hand and finger joint pain during pregnancy?
There are a few possible causes of hand and finger joint pain during pregnancy.
One possibility is that the pain is due to the added weight that your body is carrying. As your baby grows, your body is working hard to support the extra weight. This can put a strain on your joints and muscles, which can lead to pain.
Another possibility is that the pain is due to hormonal changes. During pregnancy, your body produces a hormone called relaxin. This hormone helps prepare your pelvic muscles and tendons for pregnancy by stretching and relaxing them. This can cause joint pain in other parts of your body, including your hands and fingers.
Pro Tip: Pregnancy hormones allow the joints in your pelvis to loosen so that baby can exit when the time comes — this affects ALL of your joints which includes your jaw, hands, hips and more!
You may have noticed your fingers or hands swelling more than usual. You may have carpel tunnel (sometimes that manifests with hand pain) — check out my post on wrist pain in pregnancy. This is VERY common, and often due to swelling in your forearms that constricts the nerves for your hands. Luckily, after baby most people find this pain goes away (as this area of your body will no longer be swollen with extra fluids/blood flow).
Additionally, the changes in your posture that are necessary to support your growing baby can also lead to hand and finger joint pain due to how you’re holding your body.
Pregnancy is crazy, right? I mean — finger pain when you’re growing a baby? Come join me in The Online Prenatal Class for Couples where I simplify all these weird topics for you!
What can you do to relieve hand and finger joint pain during pregnancy?
There are a few things that you can do to help relieve hand and finger joint pain during pregnancy.
One option is to try hot or cold therapy. Applying heat or ice to the affected area can help to reduce pain and inflammation. A lot of people often ask which they should use. I would try both and see which feels better or has better results. I have a whole post on using a heating pad during pregnancy.
You may be able to try over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Check with your provider if either of those are OK for you (or if they’d recommend something else).
If the pain is severe, you may want to consult with your healthcare provider about other options, such as prescription pain medication or cortisone injections.
Additionally, it is important to maintain good posture and to stay active during pregnancy. Exercise can help to reduce joint pain and stiffness. Often, I found some good posture exercises can help pain in my arms (it surprised me but it makes sense since those nerves come up through your neck to your hands). Something like this.
Are there any exercises that can help to prevent or reduce hand and finger joint pain during pregnancy?
Of course, you should talk with your provider before trying any new exercise program….
There are a few exercises that can help to reduce or prevent hand and finger joint pain during pregnancy.
One option is to try stretching exercises. Stretching can help to loosen tight muscles and tendons and reduce strain on the joints. You may want to stretch your arms and hands, but I would also encourage you to stretch your whole body!
Another option is to try strength-training exercises. These exercises can help to build up the muscles and tendons around the joints, which can help to reduce joint pain.
Additionally, aerobic exercises can help to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation.
Walking, swimming, and prenatal yoga are also all good options. Finally, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider if you are experiencing any type of pain during pregnancy. They can help you determine the cause of the pain and provide additional tips for relief.
What should you do if the pain is severe and doesn’t go away on its own?
If the pain is severe and doesn’t go away on its own, you should consult with your healthcare provider. They can help to determine the cause of the pain and provide additional tips for relief.
Additionally, they may prescribe medication or recommend other treatment options, such as cortisone injections, or physical therapy.
While many doctors don’t recommend it, I have had a lot of people have good luck with chiropractors as well (and this type of bone pain is right up their alley!)
I did a whole podcast episode about chiropractors during pregnancy:
Will the pain go away after giving birth, or will it continue to bother you after baby is born?
The pain should go away after you give birth. However, if the pain is severe or persists after giving birth, you should consult with your healthcare provider.
At that point you’d definitely want to take the time to go to physical therapy, wear a brace or whatever they encourage you to do.
Any other tips for dealing with hand and finger joint pain during pregnancy?
Let me just sum-up the tips for dealing with hand and finger joint pain during pregnancy:
– Applying heat or cold to the affected area
– Taking over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
– Stretching and strength-training exercises
– Proper posture, and body mechanics when performing tasks
– Walking, swimming, and prenatal yoga
– Consulting with your healthcare provider if the pain is severe or doesn’t go away on its own
Most of all, there is no reason to tell yourself that this pain isn’t there or that it doesn’t matter. If your arms/hands are hurting, bring it up at appointments. There is likely something they can do to help you feel better — and that will be well worth your time!
If the aches and pains of pregnancy or communicating with your healthcare team are getting you down, now is the time to get a prenatal class from a professional. The Online Prenatal Class for Couples is…
- Available 24/7
- Engaging and fun — meant for both of you to enjoy it and be a TEAM together
- Quick! It can be done in just a few hours.
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And, if you’re not quite sure you’re ready for that whole thing, check out my free prenatal class. It’s your first step toward getting in the driver’s seat of your birth.
- About the Author
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A nurse since 1997, she has worked in various fields including pediatrics, geriatrics & hospice.
She has 20 years of labor and delivery experience in the San Jose, CA and Phoenix, AZ areas.
She is also the curly head behind the website Pulling Curls and is the creator of The Online Prenatal Class for Couples — the #1 hospital-based prenatal class on the internet.