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During pregnancy, changes in the hands are common.

  • Mild swelling of your hands may be caused by the normal buildup of fluid during pregnancy.
  • Red, itchy palms and soles of the feet are caused by changing hormone levels. The symptoms go away after delivery. Moisturizers may give some relief.
  • An occasional pins-and-needles sensation may occur in the hands for no obvious reason. It is not known why this occurs in pregnant women, but it usually is not a cause for concern. Sometimes changing position helps relieve symptoms.
  • Numbness and pain that occur in your thumb, index finger, middle finger, or half of your ring finger may be caused by carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition is more common during pregnancy because the normal buildup of fluid puts pressure on nerves in your wrist. Symptoms usually go away after pregnancy.

Swelling also can be a more serious sign of preeclampsia, a problem related to pregnancy. For more information, see the topic Pregnancy-Related Problems. Swelling of your hands during pregnancy may be more serious when you have other symptoms, such as:

  • Swelling or puffiness in your face.
  • Weight gain of 2 lb (0.9 kg) or more over a 24-hour period.
  • An elevated blood pressure.
  • Protein in your urine (a lab test is required to check for protein).
  • Finger, Hand, and Wrist Problems, Noninjury

By: Healthwise Staff Last Revised: October 11, 2012
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
David Messenger, MD

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