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Ergonomics for New Mothers

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, often nicknamed Mummy Thumb, is a condition in which the synovium sheath surrounding the tendons of the thumb and wrist are inflamed. With the inflammation, the tendons aren’t able to smoothly glide within the sheath, causing pain.

Symptoms of the condition include spasms, tenderness, swelling and sharp, shooting pain originating in the thumb area that then travels up the wrist and forearm when completing

grasping and wrist twisting motions. With de Quervain’s patients are limited in use of their

affected hand to grasp and carry out daily activities of daily living. The condition arises from

repeatedly completing activities that cause stress on the tendon area including typing, playing musical instruments, sports such as golfing, lifting and carrying. Many mothers are prone to developing de Quervain’s due to repeatedly lifting their child and aggravating the tendon sheath.

While de Quervain is a condition that can dissipate with treatment, left untreated the condition may exacerbate and require surgery. Proper ergonomics for childcare can help prevent de Quervain’s for new mothers.

Tips for proper ergonomics in lifting children:

  • Do not lift from by placing hands in L formation below the child’s armpits. Use both hands to grasp the child at their ribcage to lift.

  • Place the entire hand on the the child’s bottom and head/back to lift. Try to keep the thumb as tucked into the hand as possible when completing the motion.

  • While lifting the child or carrying them to feed, avoid motions that cause the thumb to deviate from the palm and the wrist to bend radially/towards your body for long periods of time.

  • Use your legs to help lift. Don’t try to compensate for the movement by bending/using your back, but squat into the movement with your knees.


1. Dealing with Mummy Thumb: De Quervain’s Syndrome. (2013). Retrieved May 23, 2021 from

2. Solutions Northwest. (2018, February 7). Thumb and Wrist Pain – De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis - Solutions Northwest, Inc. Solutions Northwest, Inc.

3. (2019). de Quervain’s Tenosynovitis. Retrieved May 23, 2021 from

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