Pregnancy App Article: "Constipation and piles"

Week 23
Constipation and piles
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Good practise for pushing?
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Fluctuating hormone levels in pregnancy can cause constipation. An increase in progesterone relaxes your muscles, which sadly doesn’t have the effect you might expect on bowel movements. In fact, it prevents the intestine moving waste along efficiently, meaning slower transit times from plate to, um, pan.

The real kicker is that constipation can sometimes lead to piles, too (try to focus on some of the positive pregnancy symptoms, like your glowing skin and glossy hair if this happens).
How to prevent constipation
When the jokes from well-meaning friends about getting hold of some dynamite wear thin, these tricks are recommended by Mumsnetters:
  • Drink plenty of water. You’re probably on the loo hourly anyway: how much worse can it get?
  • Eat lots of fibre-rich foods – fruit and veg, dried fruit like apricots, and beans and lentils. Linseeds, sprinkled on cereal or chucked in your juicer with a load of fruit, often work a treat as well.
  • Raise your feet when you’re on the loo by investing in a stepstool (comes in handy when potty-training a toddler too - though granted, this probably feels Some Way Off).
  • Massage the small of your lower back in downwards-sweeping movements.
  • Meditate. Apparently visualising everything moving smoothly and efficiently can shift things along in reality - though if you're still feeling queasy, this mightn't appeal.
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I couldn't go to the toilet for over a week in trimester one, it was awful. I looked about six months pregnant instead of 10 weeks!
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It got to the stage where I was crying with piles, so forced myself to drive to the doctor, whilst attempting to hover above the seat. Heavily pregnant and obviously in pain, the receptionist took one look and assumed I was in labour. All hell broke loose!
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I've taken to telling anyone who asks how I'm feeling about my constipation. All my mates think my regular updates on the gruesome aspects of pregnancy are both informative and hilarious.
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How to reduce piles
All that straining on the loo plus the weight of your growing baby may lead to piles (haemorrhoids) which, not to put too fine a point on it, are varicose veins in your bum. Now there's five words you never wanted to hear in the same sentence.

Mumsnetters recommend:
  • Witch hazel gel (keep it in the fridge for added 'ahh' factor when applying)
  • Cold compresses - a clean flannel kept in a bag in the freezer can be a boon
  • Cypress oil (diluted in carrier oil) in a warm soothing bath
  • Using soft wipes instead of ordinary loo roll
  • Taking the weight off the tender area by sleeping on your side or sitting on a rubber ring. You can use this in the days following birth too (though alas, we don't mean you'll be nipping off to the pool)
If there's bleeding do have a chat with your GP, as this could be an anal fissure rather than piles.

Be warned, piles tend to get worse after pushing in labour - but happily, most disappear not long after you have given birth.
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Discuss pregnancy ailments - warts (or piles) and all
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