Rectal Bleeding During Pregnancy

Notice some blood on the toilet paper or in the bowl? Here's why you shouldn't freak out — and when to tell your doc.
ByErika Rasmusson Janes
Mar 2017
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What is rectal bleeding during pregnancy?

We consider this any blood that passes from your anus (sorry!). It might be dark or bright red, and you might notice it in your stool, on the toilet paper or in the toilet bowl. It can be a scary sign!

What causes rectal bleeding during pregnancy?

In pregnancy, rectal bleeding is typically caused by  hemorrhoids — when a collection of blood vessels in the rectum becomes swollen, says Mary L. Rosser, MD, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women’s Health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. When you strain to poop (like when you’re  constipated — an annoying side effect of pregnancy) or wipe too aggressively, they can bleed.

When should I go to the doctor with rectal bleeding during pregnancy?

Don’t panic if you notice some blood when you wipe, but definitely tell your doc about any episodes of bleeding.

How do I treat rectal bleeding during pregnancy?

Cold compresses, warm sitz baths and witch hazel can all provide relief from rectal bleeding caused by hemorrhoids; your doctor may also suggest a safe topical anesthetic.

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