Prevalence, course and determinants of carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms during pregnancy: A prospective study

M. Meems, S. E. M. Truijens, V. Spek, L. H. Visser, V. J. M. Pop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


To investigate the prevalence, severity and relation to fluid retention of self-reported pregnancy-related carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) symptoms in a large sample of pregnant women.DesignA prospective longitudinal cohort study.
Dutch women who became pregnant between January 2013 and January 2014 in the southeast of The Netherlands.Population or sampleA total of 639 Dutch pregnant women.
Baseline characteristics were assessed at 12 weeks’ gestation. CTS symptoms were assessed using the Boston Carpal Tunnel Questionnaire (BCTQ) at 32 weeks and during the first postpartum week regarding the last weeks of pregnancy. Fluid retention, sleeping problems and depressive symptoms (using the Edinburgh Depression Scale) were assessed at several time points during pregnancy.Main outcome measuresBCTQ scores, fluid retention and sleeping problems.ResultsOf the 639 women, 219 (34%) reported CTS symptoms during pregnancy. Total mean scores on the BCTQ were significantly higher after 32 weeks’ than up to 32 weeks’ gestation. Most women experienced mild to moderate symptoms. Pregnant women with CTS symptoms reported significantly higher levels of fluid retention during gestation compared with pregnant women without CTS symptoms [F = 60.6, df (1598), P < 0.001], adjusted for body mass index (BMI), age, parity, and depression scores. Higher scores on fluid retention throughout the pregnancy were significantly related to CTS (OR = 1.8, 95%CI 1.5, 2.1, P < 0.001). Finally, the occurrence of CTS was independently related to sleeping problems.
Although the severity of symptoms and functional impairment of CTS were relatively mild, health care professionals should be aware of the high prevalence. The occurrence of CTS symptoms is significantly higher in women who report fluid retention during gestation and it can contribute to sleeping problems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1112-1118
JournalBJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Boston Carpal Tunnel Questionnaire
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • depression
  • fluid retention
  • pregnancy
  • sleep


Dive into the research topics of 'Prevalence, course and determinants of carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms during pregnancy: A prospective study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this