Constipation and Hemorrhoids in Pregnancy

Posted on: March 1, 2021 | Body, Health, Information, Pregnancy

She wasn’t sure if it was something she ate or the baby, but Claudia wasn’t feeling like her usual self. Her digestive system was off, and she was experiencing discomfort anytime she attempted to use the restroom. Constipation was something she had experienced before, but hemorrhoids were a new venture. Examining her diet, Claudia realized that she may need to add more fibers to her diet. She grabbed a pear from the array of fruit in the basket on her kitchen counter, and headed out the door for a brisk morning walk. 

What is it?

Constipation is a common pregnancy occurrence. It is an abdominal discomfort caused by infrequent excretion from the bowels and passing hardened stools. Constipation can be avoided. Hemorrhoids are a sister of constipation. They are swollen veins (that cause a protrusion) in and outside the rectum that cause burning, itching, pain, and even bleeding. Hemorrhoids can be uncomfortable. 

What Causes Constipation and Hemorrhoids

A common cause of constipation is a lack of fiber in one’s diet. Other unfamiliar causes of constipation are anxiety, worry, and lack of movement. Movement of the body aids in the healthy flow of toxins, and insolubles through the body.  Iron supplements are another avenue that constipation uses. Iron tablets are often prescribed to individuals that are anemic.If you find yourself having to take iron tablets, drink plenty of water and you may or may not decide to take stool softeners to combat the constipation caused by iron supplements.  

One cause of hemorrhoids is the straining of pushing a bowel movement. This is where hemorrhoids go hand-in-hand with constipation, in most cases. The added pressure of baby to the large veins in that area of the rectum is another culprit of hemorrhoids.  The hormone progesterone is also a contributor to hemorrhoids. Progesterone loosens the muscles of the area, which leaves it susceptible to swelling. 

How to Prevent Constipation & Hemorrhoids

Preventing constipation and hemorrhoids can be achieved by eating high-fiber diets (like whole grains, vegetables, beans and lentils, berries, etc) to normalize bowel movements and promote healthy digestion. On average 25-30 grams of fiber a day is suggested. Staying hydrated aids in creating softer stools. Intaking 10-12 cups of fluids a day. 

Get moving! Movement does such wonders on the body, and moderate exercise can keep overall health. The movement (think bicycling a baby’s legs to help with their bowels) is the same that is needed for our own bodies. There are also over-the-counter supplements that can aid in keeping constipation at an arm’s length. Alternate sitting and standing to help prevent hemorrhoids by taking the pressures off of the rectum.  Avoiding hemorrhoids can almost naturally happen if constipation is prevented. 

Natural Relief Methods

For constipation, your diet and exercise will be your best friend to keeping things moving throughout the body. The high-fiber foods and snacks will keep you fueled up and not bogged down. Don’t forget to chug that water!

So you have hemorrhoids…great, right! So let’s discuss how to ease it when it does occur. Hemorrhoids can be soothed with a warm or sitz bath. Using an ice pad applied to the rectum for up to 40 minutes a day, in 10 minute increments helps keep swelling down. You can even add witch hazel to the pad. Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles (like kegels) is another tool.

When to Talk to Your Provider

Being open and honest with your provider is always important. Alert your chosen provider if you are experiencing excruciating pain and/or blood from constipation or hemorrhoids. While constipation and hemorrhoids can be rectified, there are instances where surgery may be needed for hemorrhoids. Discussing your persistent conditions with your provider is the first step getting to the bottom of your constipation and hemorrhoids.   

Claudia evaluated the last 48-hours of her day. She couldn’t pinpoint what could have triggered her bout with constipation, but she knew that it was not a joy. She was able to relieve the large lump protruding and felt so much better.