Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Meralgia Paresthetica in Pregnancy

Megan S. Gooding, Victor Evangelista, Leonardo Pereira

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Importance Carpal tunnel syndrome and meralgia paresthetica are 2 common neuropathies complicating pregnancy. Each of these causes significant discomfort but can be diagnosed and treated safely during pregnancy. Objective This article outlines the existing literature diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of carpal tunnel syndrome and meralgia paresthetica, specifically looking at the implications during pregnancy. The aim is to provide a reference for physicians diagnosing and treating neuropathies in pregnant patients. Evidence Acquisition Existing literature on neuropathies during pregnancy, clinical presentation, and treatment options for both carpal tunnel syndrome and meralgia paresthetica was reviewed through a MEDLINE and PubMed search. Referenced articles were reviewed and used as primary source materials as appropriate. Results Carpal tunnel syndrome affects individuals of all ages and sexes but is more prevalent in women, particularly during pregnancy. Meralgia paresthetica can occur in various circumstances but is most commonly associated with prolonged second stage in lithotomy position. Multiple clinical signs and neurologic tests are useful to establish the diagnosis of either neuropathy. Effective treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome includes wrist splints, steroid and lidocaine injections, and release surgery. Optimal treatment of meralgia paresthetica remains controversial but includes nerve block injections and active release techniques. Conclusions and Relevance Neuropathies are common in pregnancy and can result in significant impairment. Accurate diagnosis is possible during pregnancy and can usually be accomplished with bedside neurologic tests. Treatment options can be safely considered during pregnancy and can result in symptomatic improvement and reduction in chronic symptoms. Target Audience Obstetricians and gynecologists, family physician Learning Objectives After completing this activity, the learner should be better able to describe the clinical features and diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome; explain treatment options for carpal tunnel syndrome in pregnancy; and identify risk factors and how to diagnose meralgia paresthetica.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-126
Number of pages6
JournalObstetrical and Gynecological Survey
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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