Pregnancy and baby

Piles in pregnancy

What can I do about haemorrhoids?

Media last reviewed: 11/04/2012

Next review due: 11/04/2014

Coping with haemorrhoids when pregnant

Piles, also known as haemorrhoids, are enlarged and swollen veins in or around the lower rectum and anus. Anyone can get piles – they don't just happen in pregnancy. When you're pregnant, piles can occur because hormones make your veins relax.

Piles may itch, ache or feel sore. You can usually feel the lumpiness of piles around your anus. They may also bleed a little and can make going to the toilet uncomfortable or painful. You may also notice pain when passing a stool (faeces, poo) and a discharge of mucus afterwards. Sometimes you may feel as though your bowels are still full and need emptying.  

Piles usually go within weeks after the birth. Find out more about the symptoms of piles.

How to ease piles

Constipation can cause piles and if this is the case try to keep your stools soft and regular.

You can help ease piles, and prevent them, by making some changes to your diet and lifestyle:

  • eat plenty of food that is high in fibre, like wholemeal bread, fruit and vegetables, and drink plenty of water – this will prevent constipation, which can make piles worse (find out more about healthy eating in pregnancy)
  • avoid standing for long periods
  • take regular exercise to improve your circulation
  • you may find it helpful to use a cloth wrung out in iced water to ease the pain – hold it gently against the piles
  • if the piles stick out, push them gently back inside using a lubricating jelly
  • avoid straining to pass a stool as this may make your piles worse
  • after passing a stool, clean your anus with moist toilet paper instead of dry toilet paper
  • pat, rather than rub, the area

There are medicines that can help soothe inflammation around your anus. These treat the symptoms but not the cause of piles. Ask your doctor, midwife or pharmacist if they can suggest a suitable ointment to help ease the pain. Don't use a cream or medication without checking with them first.

Find out more about preventing piles.


Eating well on a budget

In this video, dietitian Azmina Govindji gives advice on how to eat healthily on a budget.

Media last reviewed: 14/05/2013

Next review due: 14/05/2015

Page last reviewed: 25/02/2013

Next review due: 25/02/2015


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