Hand Therapy, Hand Physio, De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis, Pregnancy, Mummy Hands

Mummy Hands

Congratulations on becoming a new mum (or dad) to a beautiful baby. It’s such a wonderful time to cherish, and it brings a few unexpected changes too.  So, don’t be surprised if you find your hands and wrists are getting sore after just a few days or weeks.

It is common for new parents to develop pain in the thumb ad wrist, and with all the awkward movements that taking care of a new baby involves, it’s no wonder.  You may quickly find out that lifting and caring for your baby is a physically taxing 24/7 job.  From feeding and getting them in and out of the car seat, through to lifting them in and out of the cot, and giving them a bath, you will be putting your hands under a lot of stress.

The main condition that can occur during this time is called De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis.  What is happening his the thumb tendons that straighten and pull back the thumb are becoming inflamed with a sudden increase in movement and repetitive use.  De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis can cause pain and swelling in the wrist and thumb and restrict movement.

Thankfully, there are things that you can do to help.

Posture and repetition:  The positions you find yourself in with a baby can be very awkward and irritating to the wrist and thumb.  It is important to look at the activities you are doing in order to prevent the pain.  Make sure your thumb is not holding a weight for an extended period of time, especially during activities such as feeding or bathing.

Try using pillows when feeing or a bath, support when bathing to take your baby’s weight off your thumbs and wrists while you keep your hand in place for safety.

It also helps if you can keep your wrists straight when picking your baby up out of the cot/bassinet.  Try to ‘scoop’ them up to avoid strain on the thumb tendons.  Also avoiding repetition such as choosing quick zip up onsies so you don’t have to press all those press studs will make life a lot easier.  If you are expressing milk, make sure you are using an electric pump to save repetitive use of your hands.

Rest and replacement:  Whenever possible try to share the new baby workload with your partner or grandparents.  Raising children is difficult to get help with bathing and nappy changes where possible.  Consider meals with day preparation or using a food processor for a few weeks to reduce the cutting and stirring of meals.  Use a dryer to prevent hanging out heavy towels or sheets and hand shirts on coat hangers to reduce ironing.

If these tips are not snout to settle your pain, you may need a splint or brace to keep your thumb tendons still and reduce inflammation.  Come in and see us to get one fitted to your arm and we will provide specific exercises to strengthen your hands again.

Don’t forget to look after your hands so you can cuddle that precious baby of yours before they start taking back.  🙂