We sacrifice many things for our children—sleep and a small slice of sanity are just two examples that come to mind. But for many new mothers, the constant lifting and toting of a young child can lead to a condition much more agonizing and confusing than a few sleepless nights.

If you’ve never heard of it before, “New Mom’s Syndrome” may sound like a good description of overprotective mothers. In reality, it is a painful form of tendonitis that affects the tendons on the outside of the thumb and wrist. This occurs when the repetitive stresses of carrying a child results in inflammation of the tendons in this region.

Most of the people who are affected by “New Mom’s Syndrome”—known clinically as De Quervain’s Tendonitis—have often never experienced this type of pain or discomfort in their hands or wrists. Some of the blame can be placed on the natural swelling associated with the later part of pregnancy and after delivery, which intensifies the natural strains on one’s ligaments and tendons.

Indeed, some pregnant women develop carpal tunnel in the last trimester, due to the increased swelling of the wrist tendon’s that sit next to the nerve within the carpal tunnel. And if that weren’t enough, just as a new mother’s carpal tunnel syndrome is receding, De Quervain’s Tendonitis starts kicking in after delivery.

It’s true, however, that “New Mom’s Syndrome” is not exclusive to new moms. De Quarvain’s tendonitis can affect both genders, both the young and the old, but rarely do men’s bodies swell after their wives pregnancy—unless they’ve been sneaking in a few too many candy bars.

Luckily for everyone, “New Mom’s Syndrome” can be easily treated.  In some cases, pain can improve by modifying the way one hold’s the child and by wearing a splint to relieve some of the strains on the wrist tendons.  Physical or occupational therapy can be helpful as well.  The most common and effective treatment, however, is usually a simple cortisone shot, which permanently solves the issue in most patients.  If that doesn’t work, well, you might want to get your child a scooter to cruise around on. We’re totally kidding, but at least then you wouldn’t have to carry them as much!

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