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While there are many wonderful things about a pregnancy, there are a few unpleasant things you may have heard about, such as hemorrhoids. It’s usually hormonal changes experienced during pregnancy that affect the digestive system and contribute to constipation. Extra weight from a growing baby can also place pressure on veins. However, there are some steps you can take to minimize issues with hemorrhoids as your pregnancy continues.

Drink More Water

Hydration is important during pregnancy for many reasons. When it comes to hemorrhoid prevention, H2O promotes softer stools and helps reduce excessive straining during bowel movements. Generally, you’ll want to consume about 8-10 glasses of water per day throughout your pregnancy.

Do Kegel Exercises Daily

Your risk of pregnancy-related hemorrhoids may be reduced by doing kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor. These exercises boost circulation in the anal/rectal area and the space between the anus and vulva (perineum). Performed on empty bladder, kegels involve squeezing and contracting pelvic muscles without pulling your stomach in.

Don’t Ignore the Urge to ‘Go’

With bowel movements, don’t fight the urge to go. Holding back can make it more difficult to go, which could result in increased strain in the rectal/anal area. Instead, get into the habit of going as soon as you feel the urge to do so. One way to avoid straining is to place your feet on a stool when you go. Also, relax and don’t push during bowel movements.

Avoid Sitting/Standing for Long Periods of Time

Staying in one position, whether it’s sitting or standing, for too long while pregnant can contribute to hemorrhoid problems. If you normally sit for work, make an effort to take periodic breaks during your pregnancy to get up and walk around. Conversely, if you’re normally on your feet a lot, do some simple stretches to keep your blood flow going and sit now and then to give yourself a break.

Exercise, other than kegels, can also help you avoid distracting issues with hemorrhoids during your pregnancy. You’ll want to avoid anything too strenuous and check with your doctor before you start any exercise routine, especially during later stages of pregnancy. However, most pregnant women are able to safely do about 30 minutes of low-impact exercises daily. Walking, yoga, and water-based activities like swimming are types of exercises that can contribute to healthy bowel movements.

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