FAQs  |  DVT Risks During Pregnancy

 

DVT Risks During Pregnancy

Jeffrey Y. Wang, MD

While uncommon, the risk for developing a blood clot or deep vein thrombosis (DVT) increases during pregnancy. Knowing the signs and symptoms of a blood clot is very important to get treatment quickly. If a blood clot is not properly treated it could break off and travel through the circulatory system to the lungs causing a pulmonary embolism or PE, which can be life-threatening. Fortunately, DVT and PE are treatable and even preventable among women who are most at risk.

During pregnancy the body tends to increase the blood’s clotting ability around birth – sometimes too much potentially causing a clot. Another factor that can contribute to a blood clot is an enlarged uterus which puts pressure on the veins that bring blood to the heart from the lower body. If a blood clot does form during pregnancy you will likely be recommended to see a specialist obstetrician, hematologist (blood specialist) or maternal medicine/obstetric medicine specialist. You may be given enoxaparin to thin your blood to prevent further clotting.

There are ways to help prevent clots during pregnancy and keep your blood flowing. Get plenty of pregnancy-safe exercise, walk and stretch your legs after a couple hours of sitting, move your legs while sitting, and consider wearing compression stockings if you are at higher risk for blood clots. If you are at higher risk for DVT and become pregnant be sure to talk with your doctor.

 

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