Your pregnancy and baby guide

Piles in pregnancy

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.

How to ease piles

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

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

  • eating plenty of food that is high in fibre, like wholemeal bread and fruit and vegetables, and drinking plenty of water – this can help to prevent constipation, which can make piles worse (read about healthy eating in pregnancy)
  • avoiding standing for long periods
  • taking regular exercise to improve your circulation
  • using 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
  • avoiding straining to pass a stool, as this may make your piles worse
  • after passing a stool, cleaning your anus with moist toilet paper instead of dry toilet paper
  • patting, rather than rubbing, 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.

Read about the causes of piles.

Media last reviewed: 17 Mar 2017

Media review due: 17 Mar 2020

Page last reviewed: 16/02/2015
Next review due: 31/12/2017