A Pain in the Rear: 5 Ways to Prevent Hemorrhoids

Pregnancy has many joys—one of which most certainly is not hemorrhoids. The amount of blood your heart is pumping increases significantly during pregnancy and can cause veins to swell, both in your legs and your rectum. Hemorrhoids are varicose (swollen) veins of the rectum, and they can cause itching, pain or bleeding.

Swelling, which causes hemorrhoids, is normal in pregnancy, and usually occurs in the legs. (If your hands or face swell, let your doctor know.)

If you’re bothered by hemorrhoids or by varicose veins in your legs, there are ways to feel better.

You can reduce the swollen veins in your legs with these 5 strategies:

  1. Elevate your legs whenever possible.
  2. Rest on your side.
  3. Don’t wear tight stockings or socks.
  4. Try not to cross your legs when sitting and, if you must sit a lot, stand up and move around from time to time.
  5. Try gentle exercise, especially walking, swimming or riding an exercise bike.

Constipation, also common in pregnancy, can make hemorrhoids worse. A high-fiber diet, plenty of liquids and daily exercise will keep both constipation and hemorrhoids under control.

Check with your healthcare provider before turning to any over-the-counter medication for hemorrhoids or swelling. And take heart: things will improve after your baby is born!

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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