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Wrist pain during and after pregnancy- what can be done?

Updated: Jun 13, 2021

Women's Health & Pregnancy | Wellbeing Physiotherapy Leederville

Wrist pain during and after pregnancy- what can be done?

Wrist pain after pregnancy is common

Becoming a mother does not come without its few share of challenges. One common problem that is often dismissed is the development of wrist pain. This can first happen during pregnancy but also for some women may first develop after the baby is born. While it is a common problem, many women ignore it and put off seeking help, secretly hoping that it will resolve itself. And we get it, motherhood is a busy time and when prioritizing things to do, you as the mum quickly becomes the last the thing on the list. In some cases, the new mum takes the time and effort to seek advice from their health practitioner only to be dismissed and told that it is a part of pregnancy or having a baby and that it will go away by itself. Neither of which is very helpful or true.

What causes this pain?

It is well documented that the causes of wrist pain around pregnancy and motherhood are clear. Changes in hormone levels and fluid balance in the body, changes in your day to day activities- suddenly you are the master of completing all your household tasks with one hand whilst balancing an increasingly heavy baby on the other, not to mention the endless picking up and putting down of a very dependent little human being. And not to forget breastfeeding- who would have known there were so many awkward ways to hold a newborn? This combined with a lack of sleep and reduced sleep quality is the perfect storm for the development of wrist pain.

So what can I do?

If there is one take home message that I could recommend is that early intervention is key. In other words, seek treatment early. Don’t leave it until it is unbearable where you feel like there is a burning knife shooting through your arm every time you pick up your baby. With appropriate assessment, wrist pain can be significantly improved with advice on sleeping position, splinting, education on holding positions and modifications on how to best to handle your baby, and a few appropriate exercises may be enough to solve the problem. Especially if you go for help when the pain is only mild- you may only need one or two sessions to resolve the issue. If you are in this category, take this as a helpful warning sign that perhaps things could be done better, and that maybe this time put yourself first. A mother that cannot lift her baby without experiencing excruciating pain is not a happy mother and can really start to test your mental wellbeing. If you find yourself, in the excruciating pain category, all is not lost either, go to your physiotherapist and you will find that significant improvements can be made quickly with just a few simple changes, and know that it just may take a bit more time and treatment to get the pain resolved completely. Take care of yourself, so you can take care of others that need you.


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