A common symptom for many women, haemorrhoids in pregnancy is still one of those things you might be a little embarrassed to talk about. Babyinfo has compiled a list of FAQs so you can get most of the information you need right here.
There are lots of wonderful surprises
and lovely things to look forward to in pregnancy, and then there’s the other
stuff. Haemorrhoids come under the ‘other stuff’ category.
A common symptom for many women, but one
of those ones you might be a little embarrassed to talk about, we’ve compiled a
list of FAQs so you can get most of the information you need right here.
Remember though after reading this
article if you are unsure about your condition, or if anything concerns you,
you should feel comfortable speaking to your doctor. The advice in our articles
is always just general in nature.
What are Pregnancy Haemorrhoids?
Haemorrhoids are varicose veins of the
rectum, and will most often be experienced during the last trimester.
As your baby gets bigger and heavier he
takes up more space in your body, and
pushes everything that was already in there down further. The veins become
compressed and can become engorged, and haemorrhoids are what happens to the
veins in the bowel wall.
The blood flowing around your body and
feeding your baby oxygen and nutrients is another reason why haemorrhoids are
common at this time. You are transporting more blood around your body that when
you aren’t pregnant, an increase of more than another 50%.
In general, pregnancy hormones also
weaken and relax your muscles and tissues to help your body grow and get ready
for labour. This loosening of tissues means your veins are not as firm as usual
and are much more pliable.
They aren’t an indication of risk to
your baby or poor health on your behalf, and are very common, with between 20%
and 50% of pregnant women thought to suffer from them (the statistics are
sketchy because women don’t talk about this much!
What do pregnancy haemorrhoids feel like?
Haemorrhoids can occur internally or may
actually protrude outside of your rectum. You may notice some bleeding on the
toilet paper, itching around your rectum, or sharp pain in that area.
You may notice pain in the area after
Sometimes you can see the distended
blood vessel and other times you may see no external sign at all.
How can you prevent pregnancy haemorrhoids?
You can take steps to try to prevent
haemorrhoids but all of your good intentions might add up to nothing – you may
still suffer from them anyway, I’m afraid!
You are more likely to suffer from haemorrhoids in
pregnancy if you:
Have had them before
Are carrying multiples
Are inactive or on bed rest
Are retaining extra fluid
Constipation during pregnancy is your biggest enemy
The best thing you can do to avoid
haemorrhoids is to try to reduce your chances of constipation, as pushing hard
to get bowel movements moving can make things worse.
It can be difficult to avoid
constipation completely, again this is one of the lovely side effects of
pregnancy. But take natural healthy
supplements to help keep you regular, drink a lot of water and try not to force
your bowels to move.
Other fluids like fruit juice and herbal
tea can also help. Reduce your coffee intake if you are having any.
As well as trying not to push your poos
out, don’t sit on the toilet for long periods of time if it is clear that
nothing is going to happen soon.
Sitting on the toilet puts additional
pressure on the rectum, which is why you don’t want to be there for a long
time. As well you should place your feet on a small stool while you are on the
toilet, as this tilts your pelvis into a more comfortable position to help
things work out.
Get up and walk around if nothing is
happening, as this can help.
If you need to poo don’t get into the
habit of holding on or putting it off. Go when you need to go.
Some other things you can do to help, however:
Reduce your intake of red meat and white
and processed carbohydrates. Increase your fibre intake and roughage, such as
fruit and vegetables and wholegrains.
Reduce spicy foods as well as those that
are high in salt
Be kind of, um, anal, about your anal
hygiene. Make sure that the area is well cleaned and gently looked after –
disposable wipes can be the best for this.
Avoid heavy lifting and always engage
your pelvic floor muscles before any kind of strain. This is very good exercise to prepare for labour and
help you to recover after delivery as well.
Don’t stand or sit for long periods of
time. Engage in some gentle exercise several times a week while you are
pregnant, such as walking, pilates, swimming or water aerobics
How do you treat pregnancy haemorrhoids?
Haemorrhoids are easily treated by an
over the counter cream, but make sure that you let your pharmacist know you are
pregnant before buying anything.
The cream will reduce engorgement in the
area and may make you feel better, but the condition may not clear up
completely until after your baby is born and you’ve had time to heal.
You can take supplements to soften your poo and make you more regular.
You can also use cold packs or medicated pads or creams containing local anaesthetic to help reduce your pain. Try
to avoid scratching.
Having a bath with some dissolved bicarbonate of soda can also provide
need to be concerned
Some light bleeding from the rectum and pain is common with
haemorrhoids, but bleeding from your vagina or stronger, more abdominal pain is
not. If you have heavier bleeding or more pain talk to your doctor.
If the blood vessel is protruding from your rectum it can be gently
pushed back in, again you should best talk to your doctor about this.
And remember that even after reading
this article if you are unsure about your condition, or if anything concerns
you, you should feel comfortable speaking to your doctor.
Welcome to Babyinfo – the ultimate pregnancy and newborn information guide. We are here to help you find all the pregnancy and baby info you need to make the most beautiful experience of your life even better.
Our team is comprised of an amazing mix of experienced mothers, recently pregnant women, and editors with tremendous medical knowledge in the fields of gynaecology and childbirth.
Think of us as your friendly advisors, here to give you honest, easy to understand and authentic information. We are here to be your support at this crucial time in your life, when you need it the most.
Note: This website is in no way meant to replace doctors, hospitals, or other healthcare providers that may be utilized by current mothers or mothers-to-be. All mothers are advised to see a doctor for medical advice and the appropriate care before, during, and after pregnancy.