Mummy Thumb: How to ease wrist pain after delivery

Mummy Thumb: How to ease wrist pain after delivery

DeQuervain’s tendinopathy, also known as mummy thumb, is a condition that causes pain on the thumb side of the wrist. It usually happens to women after delivery.

For most mums, the joy of their newborn's arrival is unrivalled. But weeks or months after birth, some women develop the mummy thumb, also known as DeQuervain’s tendinopathy, an inflammatory condition involving the tendons that run along the thumb side of the back of the wrist and thumb. This causes pain on the thumb side of the wrist. And this article explores mummy thumb and how to ease wrist pain after delivery. 

Though mummy thumb can happen to fathers, aunties and uncles, it is more prevalent in new mums. At first, it was thought that fluid retention during pregnancy was responsible for the problem. 

Swelling and hormonal changes such as ligament laxity, or loose ligaments, are a natural occurrence with delivery. But mummy pain is aggravated by frequent and improper lifting of the baby. The pain is not to be ignored, because it doesn't go away on its own. 


Symptoms of Mummy Thumb: the wrist pain after delivery 

symptoms of mummy thumb: Ease the pain

The following are symptoms of wrist pain. 


  • There's pain when you make a fist, grasp or turn your wrist. 
  • You experience pain when you try to pick or drop the baby. 
  • There's swelling at the base of the thumb and wrist.
  • Pain that may radiate to your forearm.
  • There's pain where thumb pressure is required to pick up an object 


Mummy thumb: how to ease wrist pain after delivery .

The following tips can help you ease wrist pain after delivery. 

  • Lift the baby differently

mummy thumb - how to ease the wrist pain - Lift the baby diferently

After delivery, if you begin to feel pain in your wrists the first thing you should do is to adjust the way you pick and drop your baby. This can help avoid further inflammation of the wrist tendons. Most mums are used to lifting their babies with hands underneath the baby's arms. This puts the pressure solely on the wrists. Consider using the scoop method to pick your baby. In this method, one of your hands is behind the baby's back and the other is behind the bottom. This way pressure is more evenly distributed. 

  • Mind your breastfeeding position

Mummy Thumb: How to ease wrist pain after delivery

The way you position the baby while breastfeeding might just be irritating your wrists further, especially when there's inflammation already. So to avoid the pressure, use a pillow for support while breastfeeding, so that the weight of the baby's head isn't completely in your hand. 

  • Ice your wrist and take a break 

Mummy Thumb: How to ease wrist pain after delivery

Ice is good for inflammation and swelling. So ice your wrists and take a break. Have your partner do the carrying instead while your wrist gets a breather. Medication can also help, but make sure to contact your doctor before taking any medication. Some drug affect breastfeeding. 

  • Splint

Use a wrist splint

This is highly recommended. It helps your tendon rest by immobilizing it. But most new mums find it difficult to stay still as they have tasks to do. A splint helps a great deal if you can find the commitment. It can be bought from a physiotherapy department. 

However, if after trying to remedy the wrist pain on your own and it still doesn't go away, see your doctor as soon as possible. The doctor may suggest physical therapy or a shot of cortisone. Surgery is reserved for extreme cases. 

Read also: Post delivery facts: what to expect after childbirth

Source: Healthline


Written by

Lydia Ume