How to Survive Trigger Finger During Pregnancy
Hi there! My name is Jess, and I’m part of the Content & Engagement team here at Dr. Frederick’s Original. When I sat down to write about Trigger Finger (a condition where the tendon in the finger becomes inflamed, causing painful locking up of the joint), I absolutely knew I had to share my pregnancy story and journey with trigger finger.
My Pregnancy Story
First, my confession: I hated nearly every second of my pregnancy.
I know - you really aren’t supposed to admit that. It’s either supposed to be the most magical time of your life, or you’re so in love with that future baby that it’s rude to pretend any of the circumstances of growing said baby were not ideal.
And I get that! I conceived my twins using in vitro fertilization (IVF), so I was desperate to BE pregnant. My road to pregnancy was full of doctors’ visits and self-administered injections, and I was very aware that many people don’t get this happy outcome. I knew I was lucky, and I still feel lucky every day.
But I’m sorry. I hated being pregnant.
In the first trimester, I threw up every day. Actually, after every meal. I lost 10lbs, despite being pregnant with twins and only wanting to eat pizza rolls and ice cream. I had a hilarious Thanksgiving meal in the bathroom, and cooked a Christmas Eve dinner that I’m told was delicious.
In the second trimester, I had migraines so bad I actually thought it was the end. Seriously, until my c-section (spoiler!) I would’ve said this was the worst pain of my entire life, and I was no stranger to debilitating headaches!
But the worst thing by far - the thing that was so incredibly painful and debilitating that there were days I simply didn’t think I would make it - was the carpal tunnel and trigger finger.
Trigger Finger & Pregnancy
In my 27th week of pregnancy, I woke up to realize I had lost use of my hands.
That’s not hyperbole.
Because I was pregnant with two little humans, my body started to swell pretty early. Swelling is very very common in pregnancy, as your body is making more blood and retaining all kinds of fluids, and this swelling can lead to a number of side effects - including, in my case, extremely sudden and uncomfortable carpal tunnel and trigger finger.
Over the next couple of weeks, the hand pain and numbness increased exponentially. Every morning (or after every nap, of which there were MANY) the pain was intense. I would stretch my poor hands, trying to unlock my stiff, painful fingers. I had no grip strength left - I remember sobbing one particularly bad morning because I couldn’t hold a fork at breakfast.
The pain was almost unbearable, but the loss of sensation was even worse. I felt only pins and needles. Think about how often you use your hands on a given day, and how much you take that sense of touch for granted. I didn’t even realize how important touch was, and now suddenly I was living without it. Washing my hair was weird: you just can’t tell if the shampoo is rinsed if you have no sensation. I imagined not being able to feel my babies, and that thought was devastating.
I tried everything to fix it. Compression gloves all day. Splints worn all night. Some of it helped a little bit, but nothing solved the problem completely. Around week 32, I had steroid injections in my hands, which did help immensely with the pain but a bit less with the sensation issues.
And that, dear reader, was week 32. I was five weeks into this nightmare of no hands and facing at least another six (twin pregnancies are full-term at 38 weeks). I loved my babies, but I was ready to love them on the outside of my wretched body.
A Happy Ending
My pregnancy came to a surprising end in my 34th week, when the swelling I was so not-fond of increased my blood pressure to dangerous highs. My sons were born 6 weeks early, but healthy and perfect.
And slowly, the pain in my hands subsided. I still have residual carpal tunnel and trigger finger pain, but I do not have the loss of sensation that ruined my third trimester. Hilariously, I sometimes struggle with things that are childproof - but compression gloves are truly a godsend this time around.
Pregnancy brings on a whole host of fun new medical issues, and because it’s a temporary condition,
there isn’t a lot doctors can or will do to make things easier. For a little time, you’re asked to sacrifice your health so that your baby can thrive. It’s absolutely worth it, but that doesn’t really mean it’s fair.
And so, I want to take this time to let you know that if you’re experiencing a less-than-ideal pregnancy, you are not alone. It IS hard. But, you will get through it! And, it will be worth it. In many ways, motherhood completed me. And the journey is only getting better with time.
Written by: Jess Krzyczkowski
Medically Reviewed by: Dr. Ben Frederick