Pregnancy Constipation and Hemorrhoids: 13 Ways to Help Ease the Pain

I'm 27 weeks pregnant and just moved across the country. I have been having problems with constipation since the move and have just found that I have a bleeding hemorrhoid. It is very painful and I'm worried that I will have problems with this until I give birth. Can you give me some tips to help ease the pain?

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Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

Travel and stress associated with change in diet and fluid intake, and of course just the changes of pregnancy, can produce an increased risk of constipation and hemorrhoids.

If you are feeling constipated:
1. When you feel the need to have a bowel movement, try not to wait. It is very important to keep the stools very soft. The longer the waste products remain in the large intestine, the more water they absorb and they can become dry and difficult to pass.

2. Drink lots of water. Keep a large water bottle nearby at all times. Make sure you drink one-half gallon of fluids, preferably water, every day.

3. Try to avoid straining when you have a bowel movement.

4. Eat bran -- the less processed the better -- at least twice a day.

5. Avoid refined carbohydrates, such as flour and sugar, and avoid processed cheese, which can be constipating.

6. Exercise regularly. Get into a regular exercise program of walking a mile or two every day.

If you have hemorrhoids:
1. Do Kegel exercises 50 to 100 times a day to improve the blood flow to the area.

2. Keep your feet elevated, rest on your side whenever possible, and try not to sit, especially for long periods.

3. Try gently pushing the hemorrhoid back in. Depending upon their size and degree of engorgement, try lubricating a finger and pushing the hemorrhoid back in after every trip to the bathroom. If it remains outside, it can become strangulated and hurt more. Tighten your perineal muscles after you do this, stand up and hold them in.

4. Try a sitz bath. Warm water soaks and compresses are very comforting. Add any of these oils to your bath: cypress, frankincense, thyme, geranium, chamomile or melissa.

5. Apply ice cold witch hazel cream. This can be very soothing.

6. Preparation H and Anusol are safe to use during pregnancy.

7. Notify your care provider. Hemorrhoids can be ligated if they are very severe, even during pregnancy, using local anesthesia.

I hope these suggestions help. During the birth, have your attendant support the rectal area to avoid undue pressure.

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