Q&A: I have numbness in my arms. Should I be concerned?
I am 33 weeks pregnant, have high blood pressure, and now I have developed numbness in my arms. Should I be concerned?
There are many reasons for having weird feelings in your hands, arms, or feet. These are called “paresthesias,” and are usually due to swelling and therefore pressure around the nerves going to these areas, much like a carpal tunnel syndrome. If you press your fingernail and then release the nail and the blanched area fills back up with pink again, then there’s no circulation problem. You are therefore advised to seek those positions which lead to the least amount of paresthesias.
Circulation problems due to diabetes (you’d know it) or something called a “cervical rib,” which can crimp the artery going to the arm, are other causes of numbing. Also, improper diet or exercise without correct replacement of lost electrolytes (sodium, potassium, etc.) can cause muscular effects that can be confused with paresthesias. Hyperventilation is a famous cause of “acroparesthesia,” or tingling at your “points,” like your hands, feet, or lips. But for the most part, it’s the pressure on the nerves.
The bad news is that paresthesias are usually only cured with delivery. The good news is that they are harmless. They are unrelated to your blood pressure.