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Your Pregnancy After 35 : Your Career and Your Pregnancy (part 2) - Carpal Tunnel Syndrome during Pregnancy

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5. Job Stress and Fatigue

Stress and fatigue are common during pregnancy. Fatigue may actually be an early sign of pregnancy. For some women, the feeling lasts throughout pregnancy. For others, stress on the job or at home can cause fatigue during the day or sleeping problems at night.

If possible, lie down during breaks or on your lunch hour. Even 10 or 15 minutes of rest can make you feel better. Do leg-stretching foot exercises several times each hour or whenever you can. Remove your shoes before doing the following exercise. Extend your legs in front, point your toes, then flex your feet. Repeat four or five times. Or write the alphabet with your toes by sitting in a chair and holding your feet off the ground. Using one foot, form the letters by moving your foot. Write the complete alphabet with each foot. These exercises help circulation in your feet and may prevent some swelling in your legs.

My mother-in-law says I’m selfish to want to continue working. Is she right?

Women often work through their entire pregnancy and do very well. You may need to make some adjustments, such as shorter shifts or less lifting, but it can be done. Discuss your situation with your healthcare provider, and if you get his or her OK, tell your mother-in-law not to worry and you’ve been given the green light to keep working.

Stress Relief

Two muscle exercises can help you relieve stress; you can do them at home or on the job.

1.Relax each muscle group in turn with a deep breath. Start with the feet, and work up through the legs, hands, arms, torso, shoulders, neck and face. Continue for 10 to 20 minutes. (This exercise also works when you’re having trouble getting to sleep.)

2.Inhale slowly. Push your abdomen out as you breathe in. Count to 4 before exhaling. Let shoulders and neck relax as you slowly exhale while counting to 6. Repeat as often as needed.

6. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome during Pregnancy

Carpal tunnel syndrome is characterized by pain in the hand and wrist, which can extend into the forearm and shoulder. It is caused when the median nerve in the wrist is compressed. Symptoms can include numbness, tingling or burning of the inner half of one or both hands. At the same time, the fingers feel numb and useless. More than half of the time, both hands are involved.

The problem may occur during pregnancy due to water retention and swelling in the wrist and arm area. Up to 25% of all pregnant women experience mild symptoms, but treatment is usually unnecessary. The full syndrome, in which treatment may be needed, is less frequent; it occurs in only 1 to 2% of pregnant women.

Treatment depends on symptoms. In pregnant women, splints may be used during sleep and rest in an attempt to keep the wrist straight. Most often, symptoms disappear after delivery.

Occurrence of carpal tunnel syndrome during pregnancy does not mean you will suffer from this problem after baby’s birth. In rare instances, symptoms may recur long after pregnancy. In these cases, surgery may be necessary.

Time-Saving, Energy-Saving Tip

Check out the possibilities of working part-time at home long before you anticipate taking maternity leave. Sometimes it takes a while to make arrangements or set up equipment in your home.

When Tina’s water broke at work, she went directly to the hospital. When she got there, she called her husband, Ross, and asked him to pack some things for her and to come right away. Tina’s delivery went well. In her room later, she opened her overnight bag to look for a hairbrush. Was she surprised! She wished she’d taken the time to pack for herself. The nightgown Ross brought was one of her flimsiest, as was the underwear he had chosen. And he had forgotten her robe. Luckily the hospital provided her with a toothbrush, toothpaste and a comb. She was able to get her sister, Rayna, to bring her a robe, some makeup and other things she needed. At least the orange and apple Ross had packed came in handy after the delivery.

7. Travel during Pregnancy

You may have to travel as a part of your job, which can be tiring and frustrating during pregnancy. If your pregnancy is normal, you should be able to travel in the first and second trimesters without too much trouble. Consult your healthcare provider if you’re considering travel in your third trimester.

The best time to travel, if you can choose, is during the second trimester. You’ll have more energy, and you’ll feel better. Complications are less likely. In the first trimester, you may have morning sickness or feel tired. In the third trimester, you may find it hard to sit or stand for long periods, have difficulty getting in and out of tight spaces, and you may tire easily.

8. Travel Tips

The most important travel tip we have is don’t overdo it. Pregnancy does impose some restrictions. Discuss any travel plans with your healthcare provider before you make final plans or buy tickets. Most will tell you it’s fine to travel at certain times while you’re pregnant, but each situation is different. Keep in mind the following general considerations about traveling during pregnancy.

If your company requires you to travel, limit the amount of time you’re away from home.

Avoid areas in which good medical care is not available or where changes in climate, food or altitude could cause problems.

Don’t plan a trip during your last month of pregnancy.

If you have any problems, such as bleeding or cramping, don’t travel.

If you’re uncomfortable or your hands or feet swell, sitting in a car or on a plane, or walking a lot may make matters worse.

Take a copy of your medical records with you.

Keep your healthcare provider’s name and telephone number handy in case of an emergency.

If your pregnancy is considered high risk, don’t travel during pregnancy.

If you have problems with swelling, wear loose-fitting shoes and clothes. Avoid panty hose, tight clothes, knee-high socks or stockings, and tight waistlines.

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