Can straining to go when pregnant hurt the baby?

pregnant woman hydrating

For many people, pregnancy and digestive issues go hand-in-hand. A real question that many have is, will straining when you go to the bathroom hurt the baby? Zachary C. Hamilton, MD, Ob/Gyn at ARC Medical Plaza Specialty weighs in on this topic in an article on

Will straining during pregnancy hurt the baby?

For most pregnancies that are progressing without any issues, straining isn't a huge concern. "Straining won't harm the baby, but it can lead to hemorrhoids and anal fissures which can be very painful and uncomfortable for mom," says Dr. Hamilton. Although not a serious health risk, hemorrhoids can be quite painful. There are ways to help avoid hemorrhoids during pregnancy, however, such as getting enough fiber and staying hydrated. If you do get them, hemorrhoids are generally not difficult to treat, and even a simple sitz bath can help improve them considerably.

Other potential health issues of straining

Straining a lot or for long duration can reduce blood flow to the pregnant person's heart and head and cause dizziness. Further, for those with certain pregnancy complications, straining could potentially be more dangerous. Those include:

  • Placenta previa
  • Preterm labor
  • Problems with the cervix such as women who have a cerclage

What can you do to help ease the stomach issues caused by pregnancy?

"Move around! Staying active can help keep your bowels active. Eat a balanced diet that includes fiber. Stay well hydrated and if you're still having trouble with bowel movements, talk to your doctor," says Dr. Hamilton. "A stool softener might help move everything along as well and is generally considered safe in pregnancy." In other words, don't hesitate to talk to your doctor about issues with straining while you poop during pregnancy, because it's often a common and manageable issue.

Make an appointment today

If you have more questions, make an appointment with Dr. Hamilton online at or by calling 512-260-1581.

Tags: Prenatal Care, Pregnancy Tips, Straining During Pregnancy