A Delicate Matter: Handling Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy

As if you do not already have enough going on between your legs, there is a very good chance that during pregnancy you will get hemorrhoids.

If you’re lucky you may only get one. If you’re not lucky, you may get several.

If you’re lucky, your single hemorrhoid will be about the size of a grape.

If you’re not lucky, you may have several hemorrhoids almost as large as golf balls. But what are hemorrhoids really? And more importantly, how do you treat them and make them go away?hemorrhoids

Basically, a hemorrhoid is a varicose vein in your rectum, a strangulated blood vessel. Your body’s response to these can be a mild itching to extreme pain. And during a bowel movement, they can even lead to rectal bleeding.

Hemorrhoids are especially common with first pregnancies. And if you have them in an earlier pregnancy, the chances are very good that you will have them again.

And another thing, even if you have avoided them for the whole of your pregnancy, they tend to develop in the second stage of labor. All that pushing, remember? [Stages Of Labor]

The happy thing is that after the birth, they often go away on their own.  It is a simple matter of pressure. The growing uterus exerts a lot of pressure on the veins of the pelvis and that can slow the return of blood from the lower half of the body. When the ones in the rectum are involved, they can become swollen and, hello, hemorrhoids.

And into this little mix is the ever present danger of constipation, common in pregnancy [Constipation During Pregnancy]. The straining to pass a stool can cause a hemorrhoid in the best of situations and pregnancy does not help the matter. Not that anybody has to tell you if you have them already.

But what to do about them? Get an ice pack, especially one covered with a soft cloth and apply gently. Be sure to do this many times during the day. You can try putting some witch hazel on the cold compress. A lot of people find that very soothing.

Do not discount the warm bath. The gentle heat of the water will dilate the constricted vessels and relieve some of the pain. Good results have been gained from alternating between the hot and cold treatments.

If you haven’t already changed, be sure to use only white, unscented toilet paper. It is less irritating. Pre-moistened wipes are another good idea. Many women find them very comfortable.

Make sure you are drinking plenty of liquids and eating a diet rich in fiber to avoid constipation. If you do have trouble with constipation, try using a small footstool while you are sitting on the toilet; prop your feet up so your knees are higher than your hips. This can help you have a bowel movement without straining. Practice your pelvic rocks and kegel exercises as well.

By following these suggestions, you should be able to find some relief from this delicate condition. If your hemorrhoids are especially large, painful, or bleed, talk to your health care provider.


  1. I once heard that a herbal drink made of hamamelis is a treatment for hemmorhoids. Is this true? Or is there a better alternative? thanks L.


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