Hemorrhoids and Pregnancy: is it normal?

Although few women would admit it, as many as 20-50% of pregnant women experience hemorrhoids.  Hemorrhoids are unsightly, pea or grape size swollen blood vessels in the rectal area. They are sometimes called piles. Hemorrhoids are actually varicose veins that arise inside the rectum or protrude out the anus; thus, they are classified as internal and external hemorrhoids and the external hemorrhoids are “graded” 1-4, based on severity and extent of protusion.  Pregnant women suffering from hemorrhoids experience itching, burning, uncomfortability, pain and less frequently rectal bleeding.

Causes—increased pressure in the pelvic area, enlarging uterus, increased blood flow leading to swelling, bulging & dilating; constipation aggravates, straining to have a bowel movement

Prevention—drink fluids, mostly water, increase fiber (fruits and veggies- 20 to 30 grams), Kegel exercise and incorporate over-the-counter stool softeners; sleep on your right side; move around—don’t sit or stand for hours; don’t strain; wipe clean; avoiding heavy lifting; petroleum jelly;

Treatments—baking soda (itch); herbs such as witch hazel, shepherd’s purse, lavender and juniper (swelling) pads and anti-inflammatory creams (Tucks pads, Preparation H), ice pack, soak in warm water; alternate cold and hot treatments

If bleeding or severe pain, consult a doctor










Dr. Gareth Forde

About Dr. Gareth Forde

An obstetrician-gynecologist, a clinical professor, a researcher, and a father of five—and he delivered them all! He speaks and publishes extensively on maternal and child health issues, where he emphasizes the role of a healthy maternal lifestyle, good nutrition, and breastfeeding on infant development. He chose the field of obstetrics because it is a celebration of life, a happy and exciting profession. “Children are a blessing and they bring joy and laughter to the world,” he says. “I cherish my work, as a doctor and a dad.” The study of genetic imprinting is a major focus of both Dr. Forde’s research and medical practice. This looks at what happens in the womb, how the genes a baby inherits are expressed (turned on and off), and how this influences the child’s health after birth. “This field holds great promise, shedding light on many unsolved mysteries in health and disease from infancy to adulthood,” he adds. Dr. Forde grew up in London, England and Orlando, Florida. He received his medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School and is currently pursuing a fellowship in gynecologic oncology at the University of California, Irvine. Prior to this, he practiced with Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners, a consortium of Saint Mary’s Health Care, Spectrum Health, Grand Valley State University, and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine—where he was a clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology. He also has a master’s in molecular and cellular biology from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University; a Ph.D. in environmental science (computational chemistry) from Jackson State University; and a post-doctoral fellowship in biophysics from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York.”