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How Pregnancy Changes Your Body

Hands

What's going on: If your wrists ache, your fingers are numb or tingly, and pain shoots up your arm or into your hand, you could have carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), a condition brought on by hormonal changes and fluid retention. "Tendons in the wrist swell and put pressure on the median nerve that runs down the arm and into the hand," says William Hagberg, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. The good news: Although up to 45 percent of pregnant women develop symptoms of CTS, the problem almost always clears up after delivery.

What to do about it: Repetitive motions raise the risk for CTS, so if your job involves computer work or other nonstop hand movement, change position often and take frequent breaks to give your wrists a rest. Also make sure that your work station is ergonomically correct and that your arms and wrists are straight when you type (a wrist rest, available at office supply stores, will help). If you already have CTS, your doctor may recommend cortisone injections and a wrist brace. Consider taking a prenatal yoga class, too, since yoga offsets some of the postural changes that contribute to CTS.

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