Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy

Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy, a clean bathroom

There are many beautiful things that come from pregnancy. Hemorrhoids are not one of them. Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels in the rectal area. They can cause burning, itching, bleeding and pain. While common during pregnancy, afflicting more than half of all pregnant women, they are more prevalent in the third trimester. So, though this may be a taboo topic, if you are experiencing hemorrhoids while pregnant, you are not alone. 

Hemorrhoids during pregnancy are caused by the increased volume of blood flow, and pressure on the rectum and perineum due to your enlarging uterus and growing baby. They can also result from constipation since pregnancy hormones cause your bowels to slow down.The extra strain to empty your bowels can put pressure on the veins in your rectal area. If you had hemorrhoids before pregnancy, you’re more likely to have them during pregnancy. 

The good news is that they typically go away after birth without any further intervention needed. If you have hemorrhoids, be sure to speak to your care provider. Here are some tips to prevent and ease your pregnancy hemorrhoids: 

Try a new position when lying down.

Lying on your side with your legs tucked in, much like the fetal position, takes the pressure off your rectal veins. Bonus: sleeping on your left side helps to better provide nutrients to your baby, and improve your blood flow.

Eat a diet rich in high fiber foods. 

The best thing to do to prevent hemorrhoids during pregnancy is to avoid constipation. Consuming foods like fruits & vegetables, beans, and whole grains is one way to help keep your bowels regular. 

Stay hydrated. 

We all know that drinking plenty of water is vital to your pregnancy. Did you know it can also help to reduce the risk of hemorrhoids? If you aren’t drinking enough, your body will reabsorb water through the colon, leaving dry stool that’s hard to push out. 

Keep moving. 

Get regular exercise throughout your pregnancy as long as your care provider says it’s okay. Don’t sit or stand for long stretches of time. If your job involves sitting at a desk, get up and move around for a few minutes every hour or so. 

How can you treat the symptoms of hemorrhoids during pregnancy? 

There are a few ways to get relief when you are having a pregnancy hemorrhoid flare up.

  • Take a warm bath or soak the area several times a day (with or without baking soda.) Pat dry when you are done. 
  • Place baking soda on the area to reduce itching. 
  • Apply an ice pack with a covering or a cold compress to the area. This can help reduce swelling and bring temporary relief. 
  • Use wet wipes instead of toilet paper, if you feel irritated from wiping. 
  • Apply witch hazel pads or Tucks Medicated cooling pads to the area and change the pads frequently. Witch hazel has a cooling effect and helps reduce swelling.
  • Ask your care provider about over the counter relief as needed. 

Hemorrhoids are not fun for anyone, especially a pregnant mom. It isn’t a topic that is particularly easy to bring up either. However awkward it may be, let your care provider know if you are having any issues during your pregnancy, especially if you are uncomfortable.They may recommend a stool softener or topical cream or ointment to relieve the itching and pain.

About Christie Collbran

Christie believes in helping women recognize their own inner wisdom, strength and power. Having served as President of the Tampa Bay Birth Network for six years and with ten years serving families as a birth doula, she has a reputation for leadership, dedication and compassion. A childbirth educator, certified lactation counselor as well as a certified doula, she makes a point of ensuring mothers and their partners understand all their birthing options and what to expect on their journey.> keep reading