The article was consulted professionally by Dr. Trinh Thi Thanh Huyen – Obstetrician and Gynecologist – Obstetrics and Gynecology Department – Share99 Hai Phong International Health Hub
Vein thrombosis can be dangerous for pregnant women and babies. Therefore, it is essential to find out what causes vein thrombosis and learn how to prevent it in order to have a healthy pregnancy for both the mother and the fetus.
1. What is a blood clot?
Although the body of anyone can develop blood clots, in women there is a higher risk of this during pregnancy, childbirth and up to 3 months after birth. In fact, pregnant women are 5 times more likely to have a blood clot than non-pregnant women. This article will talk about blood clots related to pregnancy and tips to protect yourself and your baby to have a safe and healthy pregnancy.
A deep vein clot also known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a medical condition that usually occurs in the lower leg, thigh, pelvis or arm. Once the DVT is not treated, part of the blood clot can burst and move to the lungs, causing an obstruction called pulmonary embolism (PE) and it can prevent blood from leading to death. However, blood clots can be prevented and treated if detected early. Pulmonary embolism is one of the common causes of death associated with blood clots in pregnant women.
2. Why are pregnant women at higher risk of blood clots?
Natural changes in a woman's body during pregnancy, childbirth, and a period of 3 months after birth can put women at higher risk of blood clots. During pregnancy, the process of blood clots in a woman is easier to reduce blood loss during labor and childbirth. During pregnancy, blood circulation to the legs is reduced because the blood vessels around the pelvis are squeezed by the development of the fetus. In addition, limitations or lack of movement (mobility) due to rest in bed after birth can also limit blood circulation in the legs and arms, increasing the risk of blood clot disease.
3. Risk of blood clot formation
There are many causes that cause the formation of vein thrombosis to be started in the body. Vein thrombosis in pregnant women is most likely to appear in the first 3 months of pregnancy and for 6 weeks after the birth of a baby.
Blood clots can be prevented by knowing how to protect yourself and your baby by understanding the risks that lead to blood clots. Pregnancy is a factor that can put women at increased risk for blood clots, but the following factors can also increase the risk of blood clots:
- Family or individual history of blood clots or diseases related to blood clot disorders;
- Have a history of cesarean section;
- Prolonged decreased mobility (not much movement), such as during bed rest or post-birth recovery;
- Complications during pregnancy and childbirth;
- Suffer from certain chronic diseases or things that cause prolonged health such as a heart or lung condition, or diabetes, obesity;
- Smoking or frequent exposure to tobacco.
4. How can blood clots be prevented?
The identification of the risk of blood clots should be carried out in the group of pregnant women for appropriate preventive methods. You can talk to your doctor about your risks and signs to find an effective solution.
Once the signs and symptoms of the clot have been identified you should seek medical treatment assistance. Early treatment can help prevent ruptured venous thrombosis and move to the lungs in the form of pulmonary embolism. Although vein thrombosis can occur without any symptoms, in some cases it has symptoms such as: Swelling of the affected limbs; Pain or pain not caused by injury; The skin is warm to the touch, red or recolored.
In case you experience the following symptoms, medical assistance should be sought as soon as possible to prevent possible death.
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain, aggravated by deep breathing or coughing.
- Coughing up blood
- Heart rate is faster than normal or irregular heartbeat
Some methods to improve blood circulation in the legs should be carried out such as regular leg movement and calf muscle training by getting up and walking around if space allows. When sitting, you need to expand your legs and let your legs straighten and move your ankles, pull your toes towards you and then push them away from you. Perform pulling each knee up towards the chest and keeping it there with your hands on your lower legs for 15 seconds. Repeat up to 10 times. Besides, following a healthy diet also plays an important role in the prevention of blood clots.
During pregnancy, if there are abnormal symptoms, you should be examined and consulted with a specialist.
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