Hemorrhoids in Pregnancy
Also referred to as “hemmies”, hemorrhoids are unfortunately a common part of pregnancy for many women. They can also appear during labor and cause trouble for women after the baby is born. What is a hemorrhoid?
A hemorrhoid is an enlarged vein that develops in and around the anal canal in both men and women. They are caused by excessive pressure to the pelvic and rectal areas. As pressure increases, blood builds up in the veins causing painful distention of the veins, leading to hemorrhoids.
The pressure that helps create a hemorrhoid is generally caused by rushing to complete a bowel movement, or from constipation. Constipation is a very common problem in pregnant women both in the first trimester, as first their organs start moving around to make space for the uterus, and in the third trimester as their intestines get cramped and crowded. Because of constipation, many women get hemorrhoids for the first time during pregnancy.
Hemorrhoids often develop during labor as a woman strains and pushes her baby out. A woman is normally told to “push like your are having a BM”, which is effective in helping the baby come down the birth canal, but it often also puts extreme pressure on the veins in the area.
Once they appear, hemorrhoids can be very painful even while you are doing the simplest things, like sitting. There are different suggestions your doctor may have to help you control and ease the henorroids. Pads soaked in witch hazel, like Tucks, can be used to wipe your hemorrhoids in an effort to help them decrease in size faster and be less painful. Some women will actually place a Tucks inside a maxi-pad in their panties so that it will sit on the hemorrhoid constantly.
Another option to help with hemorrhoids is to take a “sitz bath”. A sitz bath is a type of bath where only the woman’s hips and butt sit in warm water or a saline solution. It is used for people who have hemorrhoids or other issues like a recent surgery in the rectal area.
If your hemorrhoids do not seem to be going away, or they are increasingly painful, ask your doctor or midwife if they have any further ideas for relief.
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