Rectal bleeding during pregnancy does not usually signal a serious problem. Often caused by anal fissures or hemorrhoids, rectal bleeding is actually common during the third trimester of pregnancy and in the weeks following delivery. The result of increased pressure on the veins of the inner pelvis during pregnancy and delivery, most times hemorrhoids will heal on their own. Even those women who deliver by Caesarean section can suffer from hemorrhoids during and after pregnancy, especially if they were prone to hemorrhoids before becoming pregnant. Fortunately, there are self-care steps you can take to prevent rectal bleeding caused by hemorrhoids.
Things You'll Need
- Cold compress
- Heating pad
- Ibuprofen or acetaminophen
- Witch hazel
- Over-the-counter hemorrhoid relief product
Report any unusual postpartum bleeding to your physician. While it’s probably nothing to worry about, your doctor will make certain that there is not something other than hemorrhoids causing the bleeding. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if bleeding is coming from the rectum.
Drink plenty of water and add more high-fiber foods to your daily diet to prevent constipation. Research shows that constipation occurs frequently in pregnancy, affecting half of all pregnant women. If you suffer from chronic constipation, you may want to ask your doctor about taking an over-the-counter fiber supplement to prevent hemorrhoids.
Apply a cold compress or heating pad to the area several times each day to help reduce swelling. Leave cold compresses in place for about 10 minutes. Alternating between an ice pack and warm sitz bath may offer more relief.
Use soft, white, unscented toilet tissue to avoid irritation from wiping. Towelettes moistened with witch hazel are another safe alternative.
Do Kegel exercises every day to increase circulation in the rectal area. This helps to reduce the risk of hemorrhoids. Strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor and improving muscle tone also contribute to a faster postpartum recovery.
Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve pain temporarily.
Ask your doctor about using a topical anesthetic or medicated suppository to help relieve burning and itching. Hemorrhoid preparations are not always recommended, as some contain steroids.
Tips & Warnings
- Continued use of hemorrhoid relief products for more than a week can cause even more inflammation, or even permanent damage to the skin with regular use over time.
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