Being pregnant is an exciting time, filled with anticipation and change. One of the changes you may not have expected is the onset of hemorrhoids after childbirth. Rest assured, you’re not alone. Pregnancy causes hemorrhoids in 1 out of 3 women.
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Why Do Pregnant Women Get Hemorrhoids?
There are a variety of reasons pregnancy may cause hemorrhoids. For one, a pregnant woman's enlarged womb increases pressure in the hemorrhoidal veins. Another reason—a pregnant woman's blood supply actually increases during pregnancy, raising the pressure within her veins. Additionally, a pregnant woman's hormones tend to relax the anorectal area's supporting muscles as the baby presses more and more on the veins below it. Add to all of this the fact that pregnancy often causes constipation (a trigger of hemorrhoids), and it is no wonder why pregnancy may cause hemorrhoids.
You can help prevent hemorrhoids or minimize flare-ups by making simple lifestyle changes:
Gently cleanse Use Preparation H® Medicated Wipes for Women following childbirth to gently cleanse and soothe the irritated area.
Drink water Drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water a day can help reduce the risk of constipation and keep bowel movements soft and easy to pass (reducing your risk of hemorrhoid flare-ups).
Eat a balanced, high-fiber diet With your healthcare provider's approval, follow a balanced diet, rich in fiber to help prevent constipation.
Get some exercise A little physical activity can aid in digestion and tone the supporting muscles of the anal and rectal area as well as the abdomen. With your healthcare provider's approval, walk or do other non-strenuous activities.
Do Kegel exercises Kegel exercises help strengthen the pelvic floor plus anal and rectal muscles after childbirth. This can aid in digestion and prevent constipation. To do a Kegel exercise, tighten your vaginal muscles (as you would if you needed to stop urinating midstream), hold it for a few seconds, release and repeat several times. It's a discreet exercise you can do almost anywhere.
Use the restroom as soon as you have the urge Holding in a bowel movement may contribute to chronic constipation. As a mother, it's hard to find a few quiet minutes for yourself. That said, it's important to set aside time to use the bathroom—preferably when you can be uninterrupted. See more tips on using the bathroom.
Maintain a healthy weight Extra weight can put more pressure on your abdomen, which increases your chances of getting hemorrhoids. Try to stay within the weight guidelines your healthcare provider sets.
Try not to stand or sit for long periods Sitting or standing can put pressure on your rectum and cause hemorrhoids or make existing hemorrhoids worse. If you are sitting and nursing for long periods, try other positions, such as reclining, or sitting on an O-ring cushion.
Always check with your healthcare provider before starting any diet or exercise plan.
“After my daughter was born, I knew something was wrong down there but I didn’t know what it was. My nurse told me I had hemorrhoids from delivery. When I came home, I couldn’t sit, lay down or stand without being in extreme pain.” Read more about Danielle’s Relief Plan
Did You Know?
Q: Why do pregnant women and new moms get hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are caused by pressure in the hemorrhoid veins. There are several reasons pregnancy may cause extra pressure. For one, a pregnant woman's enlarged womb increases pressure in the hemorrhoid veins. Read more.