Constipation and piles in pregnancy

ToiletThe hormonal changes pregnancy brings affect your intestines - ie slower transit time - so you may feel you're going through the equivalent of giving birth every few days. 

How to prevent constipation

Mumsnetters recommend drinking plenty of water and eating fibre-rich foods such as wholemeal bread, fruit, vegetables, and beans and lentils.

And you could also try:

  • Dried apricots, and if you can raise your feet when you 'go' eg by putting them on a step stool that helps enormously. Piccalilli2
  • A couple of teaspoons of linseeds worked for me (couldn't go for over a week in trimester one, was awful, I looked about six months pregnant instead of 10 weeks!) and got things moving more easily. You can sprinkle the linseeds on cereal or something like that. TarkaLiotta
  • I meditate on the toilet - visualising everything moving smoothly and efficiently (sorry if TMI) and also massage the small of my lower back - doing sweeping-down movements. And it really, really helps me! Orissiah

How to reduce piles

All the straining on the loo plus the weight of your growing baby may lead to piles (haemorrhoids), which are actually varicose veins in your back passage.

Sufferers recommend witch hazel gel ("kept in the fridge"), cold compresses, cypress oil in a warm soothing bath, and using soft wipes instead of loo roll.

Do everything you can to prevent constipation and try to take the weight off the tender area by sleeping on your side, sitting on a rubber ring, not standing or sitting for too long, and, when you have to go, "you might find it helps to rest your feet on a stool - no pun intended - or a pile of phone books when on the loo", advises one mum.

If there's bleeding, consult your doctor, as what you have may be an anal fissure, rather than piles.

But what happens during labour, you may be thinking?

"The piles won't explode," says a Mumsnetter who is a midwife, "but your midwife might cover them with a sterile pad at the time of delivery if necessary. Consider delivering on all fours, to take some of the pressure off."

They tend to get worse after pushing in labour, but most disappear not long after you have given birth.

What Mumsnetters say about piles during pregnancy

  • Unless you've suffered from piles, it all seems a bit of a snigger, but there are few things as painful. It got to the stage where I was crying with them, 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. With the whole of the surgery looking on, I had to explain that I wasn't in labour - I had piles. Anyway, lots of Anusol cream and suppositories did the trick. MarmaladeSun
  • Mine were unbelievably big post-delivery. But once all the weight was gone - ie the baby - they slowly started to shrink and I don't notice them anymore. Fefifofum


Last updated: almost 2 years ago