Hemorrhoids, swollen veins in or around the rectum, are a common complaint during and after pregnancy. A form of varicose veins, they are caused by the increased pressure exerted on your veins by the weight of your uterus. During labor, the extreme strain of pushing your baby out also may lead to the formation of hemorrhoids. Once you've got them, these swollen veins can be made worse by constipation.
Take preventive measures as early as possible to avoid this less-than-pleasant annoyance of pregnancy. As soon as you find out you're pregnant, make sure to include lots of high-fiber foods in your diet, and drink plenty of liquids. Try not to put on too much weight- stick to the guidelines given to you by your healthcare provider. Don't sit or stand for long periods without taking a break.
If you do get hemorrhoids, you can relieve discomfort by wiping the area with witch hazel pads or applying an ice pack. Ease itching with a warm soak or sitz bath using an oatmeal bath product or baking soda. Look for toilet paper that's extra soft or pre-moistened, and ask your practitioner about which over-the-counter hemorrhoid remedies are safest to use during pregnancy. Finally, take heart in the fact that hemorrhoids usually disappear in the weeks after the baby is born.
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