Pregnancy Problems

Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy

Hemorrhoids don't really need an introduction — if you've got them, you know how much they suck. But are there ways to prevent them? Get rid of them? We've got the answers you're looking for.

What are hemorrhoids during pregnancy?

Swollen, itchy varicose veins where the sun don't shine are called hemorrhoids.

What are the signs of hemorrhoids?

You might notice pain or irritation in your rectal area, or a weird lump there. You might bleed or have pain when you go number two.

Are there any tests for hemorrhoids?

Your doctor can probably diagnose hemorrhoids just by examining you. If he suspects another digestive disease or colorectal cancer, you may have further testing.

How common are hemorrhoids during pregnancy?

We don’t have stats on these, but believe us, they’re common.

How did I get hemorrhoids?

For some women, hemorrhoids are just in the cards...and unfortunately, it sounds like you're one of them. You've got extra blood flowing through your veins right now, and it can sometimes pool up in the parts of your body most affected by gravity (such as, yes, the rectum). The result is often hemorrhoids. Plus, your growing uterus adds pressure to the region, making it particularly prone to swelling, and the forthcoming strains of childbirth can start the problem right over again.

How will my hemorrhoids affect my baby?

They shouldn’t. Some hemorrhoids require a medical procedure to get rid of, though, so see your doc if yours aren’t going away with treatment (see next page).

What’s the best way to treat hemorrhoids during pregnancy?

Ease the pain with creams, suppositories, hot or cold packs (experiment to see what works best), witch hazel pads and sitz baths (soaking the area in a little hot water). If constipation is the big issue, talk to your doctor about stool softeners. Then, once you've found a bit of relief, rest easy with the knowledge that hemorrhoids tend to ease up and disappear as your body returns to normal after delivery.

What can I do to prevent hemorrhoids during pregnancy?

Though hemorrhoids sometimes (sorry!) just happen, there are ways to reduce your risk. To avoid trapping more blood in the veins, try not to strain when you're doing your business. Prevent constipation by staying hydrated and eating a well-balanced, fiber-filled diet (which you should be doing anyway). Since excess weight can also contribute to hemorrhoids, avoid gaining more than your doctor recommends, and get off your bottom often — both during pregnancy and after delivery. Moving around eases the pressure on the veins in your pelvic area and gets your bowels moving. When you're feeling lazy, though, lie down and make yourself comfortable — long periods of sitting or standing add hemorrhoid-inducing pressure. Kegel exercises can also ease hemorrhoids by increasing circulation to the area, along with helping to stop urine leaks and decreasing the chances of an episiotomy — three pretty convincing reasons to give them a try.

What do other pregnant moms do when they have hemorrhoids?

“Another one moved in today, bringing the grand total up to five. I use witch hazel wipes/pads every time I go to the bathroom. I’ve been using creams (I now have tried every type of Preparation H and Tucks cream available), and I use the sitz bath at least three times a day. I’ve been wearing loose-fitting cotton granny panties; I lie on my left side as much as humanly possible during the day; I’m drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water a day and eating plenty of fiber.”

“They were really bad a couple weeks ago. The OB said I could take two Colace a day for the rest of my pregnancy. It doesn’t help with the hemorrhoids specifically, but it makes it not hurt so much when you poop. I was using Tucks pads or just soaking cotton squares in witch hazel.”

“Witch hazel, Tucks pads and my elderly aunt’s old remedy: one teaspoon of nutmeg a day. Oddly enough, taking half a teaspoon of nutmeg by mouth morning and night got rid of mine in three days, and they haven’t come back.”

Are there any other resources for hemorrhoids during pregnancy?

March of Dimes

Plus, more from The Bump:

Constipation During Pregnancy

10 Things They Really Should Warn You About Before You Get Pregnant

Pregnant and uncomfortable?

By Paula Kashtan