Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy

Hemorrhoids are actually varicose veins that develop in the rectum.  Another name for hemorrhoids is varicosities of the rectal veins.  This is one of those symptoms that often leave women saying, “why, why, why?”

What causes hemorrhoids during pregnancy?

Hemorrhoids are caused by a combination of factors.  The rapid shift in hormones causes the intestinal smooth muscle to soften which slows down the speed that bowels are passed.  This may lead to constipation which causes straining.  This straining can attribute to the development of hemorrhoids.  Additionally, the increase in blood volume and circulation also causes the veins to expand which also adds pressure in the rectum.

When do hemorrhoids occur during pregnancy?

Your pregnancy related hormones trigger the smooth muscles of the intestine causing them to soften during the first trimester, so it is possible to experience hemorrhoids at this time.  However, it is most common to experience hemorrhoids later in the second trimester or in the third trimester.

How frequently do hemorrhoids occur during pregnancy?

About 50% of women will experience constipation.  Although the actual number of women that experience hemorrhoids is unknown, the good news is that it is only a portion of those who experience constipation.  Additionally, we know that about 20% of women will experience varicose veins.  Hopefully, you won’t be one of the few that do experience hemorrhoids, but if you do, don’t worry because they usually leave shortly after delivering your baby.


Cunningham, F., MD; Leveno, K., MD; Bloom, S., MD; Hauth, J., MD; Gilstrap, L., MD; and Wenstrom, K., MD, Williams Obstetrics 22nd ed., McGraw-Hill, New York, 2005.

Duff, P., MD, Edwards, R., MD, Davis, J., MD, Rhoton-Vlasak, A., MD, Obstetrics and Gynecology: Just the Facts, McGraw-Hill, New York, 2004.

Scott, J., MD; Gibbs, R., MD; Karlan, B., MD; and Haney, A., MD, Danforth’s Obstetrics and Gynecology, 9th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, 2003.

Crombleholme, W., MD, “Obstetrics,” Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2003, 42nd ed., McGraw-Hill, New York, 2003.

DeCherney, A., MD, and Nathan, L., MD, Current Obstetric & Gynecologic Diagnosis & Treatment, 9th; McGraw-Hill, New York, 2003.

Harms, R., MD, Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy, HarperResource, New York, 2004.

Bankowski, B. MD., Hearne, A. MD, Lambrou, N. MD, Fox, H. MD, and Wallach, E. MD, The Johns Hopkins Manual of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 2nd ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, 2002.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Planning Your Pregnancy and Birth, 3rd ed., ACOG, Washington DC, 2000.

Beck, W., MD, Obstetrics and Gynecology, B.I. Waverly Pvt., Ltd., New Delhi, 1997.

Johnson, R., MD, Mayo Clinic Book of Pregnancy & Baby’s First Year, William Morrow and Company, Inc., New York, 1994.