Family Safety Tip: Preventing Mommy Thumb
More mothers are getting”Mommy Thumb” (pain in their hands) because of heavier children, lower cribs, older new mothers, and smartphone scrolling!
It’s a rare-sounding ailment, but as many as 50 percent of new moms develop it: deQuervain’s tendinitis, an irritation of the thumb tendons that causes anything from mild soreness to an intense pain that radiates up to the wrists.
The trigger: habitually picking up your baby by hooking your hands under her arms, especially if your hands are also angled downward. (Even worse: using just your thumb and forefinger.) That puts a lot of pressure on the tendon. To try to prevent “Mommy thumb,” change the way you lift your baby. For example, when she’s on her back, slide one hand under her to get her head in the crook of your arm, and then put your other hand under her bottom.
If you already have pain, modifying your baby-lifting technique and taking over-the-counter painkillers such as ibuprofen will usually take care of it, says Charles Day, M.D., a hand surgeon at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. But if it bothers you for more than a month, your doctor can prescribe stronger analgesics, splinting, occupational therapy, a steroid injection, or, in rare cases, minor surgery.