Blood in Stool During Pregnancy: What To Do

Finding blood in your stool can be alarming, but it’s not usually an emergency. Find out what blood in the stool means when pregnant. 

Share This Post

As if the changes to your hormones, morning sickness, and back pain weren’t enough, you suddenly find red streaks on the toilet paper when you use the restroom.

Finding blood in your stool is alarming anytime, but when you’re pregnant, your concern is multiplied. 

While your body is busy building your baby, you might be on pins and needles whenever you notice a change in your normal routine.

Bloody poop can cause panic, but before you lose your cool, you should know that bloody stool is fairly common during pregnancy. 

We’ll tell you what’s causing it, how to tell if it’s truly blood you’re seeing, and what you can do to help stop it. We’ll also cover when to call your doctor. 

What’s Causing Blood in My Stool During Pregnancy?

You aren't alone if you’re experiencing some interesting output in the bathroom while pregnant.

About two out of three pregnant people experience blood in their stool during pregnancy. Thankfully, the causes aren’t usually emergencies.

Hemorrhoids 

You’ve heard the rumors, and now you know they’re true. Hemorrhoids and pregnancy can sometimes go hand in hand; the culprit is your hormones. As soon as you become pregnant, your body produces extra amounts of progesterone and estrogen. 

Progesterone is known as the “relaxation” hormone. It works to relax your muscles, tendons, and ligaments to prepare you for giving birth. At the same time, it relaxes all the muscles in your body, including the ones in your intestines. 

This relaxation can cause your digestive process to slow down, making it harder for you to pass stool. Straining when passing stool is a known cause of hemorrhoids. 

Hemorrhoids are swollen, inflamed blood vessels that surround the anus. Increased blood flow during pregnancy may also add additional pressure to these areas. Symptoms of hemorrhoids can include:

  • Small, painful lumps around the anus
  • Blood in the stool (usually bright red drops or streaks on the toilet paper)
  • Itching or burning around the anus
  • Pain when seated or attempting to pass stool

Hemorrhoids can occur early in pregnancy and during labor and delivery due to the pressure on your perineum and anus while pushing. 

Prenatal Vitamins

Your prenatal vitamins aren’t causing blood in your stool, but they could make it harder for you to produce stool, leading to straining and blood.

Pregnant people need more iron than non-pregnant people, and your prenatal vitamin usually contains the amount you need

An unfortunate side effect of iron? Constipation

Anal Fissures 

Unlike hemorrhoids (swollen blood vessels that may burst and bleed), anal fissures are tears that can occur in your anus. Fissures can be caused by forceful straining when you use the bathroom during pregnancy

However, there are other reasons you might develop anal fissures. Having frequent bouts of diarrhea and developing a sexually transmitted infection can also cause an anal fissure. Symptoms of an anal fissure can include:

  • Bleeding when you pass stool
  • Pain and burning or stinging before and after having a bowel movement
  • Discomfort when sitting

If you have an anal fissure, the blood in your stool will likely be bright red.

Viruses and Infections

Sometimes, the cause of blood in your stool during pregnancy can be caused by something other than hormonal changes.

Certain viral infections can cause you to have blood in your stool, but you’ll usually notice accompanying symptoms like:

  • Stomach aches
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Vomiting 

If you think you have a stomach virus, you should contact your doctor to let them know.

They may want to see you to ensure you don’t get dehydrated. 

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

This umbrella term refers to any inflammatory disease of the bowels, like Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis.

These conditions may precede pregnancy, but they can also lead to blood in the stool while you are pregnant. 

Due to changes in your hormones while you are pregnant and the difficulty with which you have bowel movements, you may experience more flare-ups of your disease or find more blood in your stool when you have a bowel movement. 

Talk to your doctor about your condition and how it can affect your pregnancy. 

Cancer

Although it is extremely rare, colon cancer during pregnancy can cause you to have blood in your stool.

Only about 1 in 13,000 pregnant people will receive this diagnosis, so it’s unlikely that the blood in your stool is from cancer. 

Symptoms of colon cancer can be very slight and can often be confused with other pregnancy symptoms. You may have:

  • Dark black or deep purple blood in your stool
  • Pain in your lower abdomen

Your doctor will help you determine if you need to be screened for colon cancer while you are pregnant. 

What Are the Symptoms of Bloody Stool During Pregnancy?

Is what you see actual blood? It can be hard to tell. Even more difficult is deciphering whether or not the blood is appearing in your stool or from somewhere else.

It goes without saying, bleeding and spotting during pregnancy (though somewhat normal) can be a concern. 

Luckily, period-like bleeding and spotting are usually very different from the blood you find in your stool. Symptoms of bloody stool include:

  • Streaks of red blood on your toilet tissue
  • Strings of bright red or dark red blood in your stool
  • Pain around your anus
  • Discomfort when you pass stool

If you are experiencing period-like bleeding or spotting, you will most likely notice it when you are not having a bowel movement, although it can coincide with one. You may also experience brownish or purplish spotting.

When Should I Call the Doctor?

Passing blood in the stool can be frightening, and you should always mention it to your doctor to ensure you do not need an examination.

Your doctor can decide whether a diagnostic exam is necessary and help rule out any serious conditions. 

How Can I Deal With Bloody Stool During Pregnancy?

If you’re experiencing bowel movement blues during your pregnancy, there are some at-home remedies you can try to get relief and experience less painful stools. 

Increase Your Fiber

The hormones that relax your muscles during pregnancy can make it harder for your stool to make it from point A to point B.

Increasing your fiber can help your bowels get the job done more easily. 

Increasing your fiber intake is best accomplished by eating fiber-rich foods like whole grains and green vegetables.

Although increasing your fiber can make you feel bloated and gassy, those symptoms pass, and your stool comes out without as much straining, preventing you from seeing blood in your bowel movements. 

Try a Stool Softener

The longer stool sits in your intestines, the harder it can become, making it difficult to pass.

Check with your doctor or healthcare provider about whether taking a stool softener is safe for your pregnancy. Stool softeners help pull water into the intestines, making your stool softer and easier to pass. 

Exercise

Keeping your body active during pregnancy (with your doctor’s permission) can help increase regularity and make it easier for you to have a daily bowel movement.

A 15 to 20-minute walk can help activate your muscles and give your digestive system a head start. 

Prenatal yoga is another option for maternity exercise that can help keep your body healthy and encourage easier bowel movements.

Prenatal yoga is a program that encourages stretching and breathing techniques that can help you throughout your pregnancy and help you with labor and delivery. 

Eat a Balanced Diet

We know that pregnancy cravings can be intense, but if your diet consists mostly of prepackaged snacks and fast food, you’ll likely experience issues when trying to use the bathroom.

These foods usually lack adequate fiber, are packed with sodium, and can contain ingredients that don’t promote healthy bowels. 

Make sure you are eating fruits and vegetables daily, along with lean proteins and whole grains to support your pregnancy and your bowel health. 

Keeping Bloody Stools at Bay

Passing blood in your stool while pregnant isn’t uncommon, even though it can be frightening to see.

While it usually does not constitute a medical emergency and does not pose a threat to your pregnancy, you should discuss any blood you see with your doctor. 

If your doctor determines it’s constipation, there are remedies you can try to support healthy bowel movements while you are pregnant.

Taking care of these issues will not only help you have a happier and more comfortable pregnancy, but it will also help support your body postpartum.

References, Studies and Sources:

Anorectal symptoms during pregnancy and postpartum: a prospective cohort study | PubMed 

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) – Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic 

Challenges Associated with Colorectal Cancer in Pregnancy – Case Reports in Gastroenterology 2019, Vol. 13, No. 2 | Karger Publishers 

Sesame Care

Find the best price for great doctors and specialists

  • Thousands of doctors and specialists
  • $13,000,000+ saved by patients
  • 95% patient satisfaction
  • 4.3 on TrustPilot
     

Popular Destinations

Health

Medication

Telehealth Reviews

Shop

Pharmacist Membership

About Us

Pharmacy Near Me

Recent Articles

Share On:

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

More To Explore

What Is a Chemical Pregnancy and Can You Treat It?

A chemical pregnancy occurs when an embryo stops developing in the first five weeks of pregnancy. There is no medical treatment for chemical pregnancy.

Implantation Bleeding: What It Is, When Does It Happen & How Long Does It Last?

Implantation bleeding is a very common occurrence after the fertilization of an egg in the uterus. It happens when the egg attaches to the

What Can Cause a False Negative Pregnancy Test?

Taking the test too early, diluted hCG levels, and more can contribute to a false negative pregnancy test result. Here’s what to know.

Pregnancy Acne: What Causes It, How To Alleviate It

Acne during pregnancy is common, but many treatments exist to treat it. Read on to learn why you may have acne and what you

Pregnancy Itching: Is It Normal?

Itching can be a normal part of any pregnancy, but when itching drives you crazy, it could indicate a bigger problem. Here’s what you

When Ectopic Pregnancy Symptoms Start & Early Signs

An ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening condition that requires emergency treatment.

Back Pain During Pregnancy: Symptoms, Causes and Remedies

An aching back doesn’t make pregnancy very comfortable. Find out what’s causing it and how you can get much-needed relief. 

Irregular Periods and Pregnancy: What To Know

Having an irregular period can cause you to have cycles that aren’t consistent from month to month. Find out how they can affect getting

How Many Weeks Is Full-Term Pregnancy?

Carrying a baby to full-term is associated with many health benefits. This guide from USA Rx

How Long Should You Wait To Take a Pregnancy Test?

Sometimes, pregnancy tests can give you the wrong result because of bad timing. Should you wait to take a pregnancy test for better results?

What Does a Positive Pregnancy Test Look Like?

Each pregnancy test is different. This guide from USA Rx helps you figure out how to tell a positive pregnancy test from a negative

Pre and Post Natal Care: The Ultimate Guide

Any healthy pregnancy requires the right prenatal and post-natal care. This guide from USA Rx breaks down why it’s so important and what it

What Are the Most Common Signs of Fertility in Women?

In this article, we will discuss the most common signs of ovulation in women and also explain how to know when you are most

Where To Buy Pregnancy Tester: 7 Reliable Places

Pregnancy testers are available at your local pharmacy, grocery store, drug store, Planned Parenthood Health Center, local medical provider, and community clinics.

Prenatal Massage: A Beginner’s Guide

Prenatal massage can be a great way to improve pregnancy and labor outcomes. This guide from

Seven Tips To Face Depression During Pregnancy

Feelings of sadness are common with pregnancy, but if they last longer than you expect, you might be suffering from perinatal depression. 

What Does Pregnancy Spotting Look Like & Is it Safe

In most cases, pregnancy spotting isn’t a cause for concern. This guide from USA Rx goes over what normal spotting looks like.

Spotting and Bleeding in the First Trimester: What Is Normal?

Bleeding during pregnancy can be scary, but it’s likely not a cause for concern. Read on to see what’s normal and when to call

When Does Constipation Start in Pregnancy?

Constipation is an uncomfortable symptom of pregnancy. This guide from USA Rx breaks down what causes it and how you can prevent it. 

10 Signs That Labor Is 24 to 48 Hours Away

If you are pregnant, you may be wondering what signs to look for to determine when labor is imminent. Many pregnant women will go