Pregnancy Blood Clots: Risks Factors and Complications

The body produces blood clots in order to stop bleeding from cuts or wounds. Sometimes blood clots (a change in liquid to solid state of blood) can partially or completely block the flow of blood in blood vessels, like arteries or veins, which can in turn cause damage to internal organs and prove fatal.

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More so, blood clots during pregnancy has additional risks or possible complication due to the developing fetus. In most cases, women who experience blood clots go on to have healthy pregnancies. In severe cases, they can be fatal to both mother and child. During prenatal care, get yourself tested for Thrombophilia, a condition that increases chances of producing abnormal blood clots. If you are trying to conceive, let your healthcare provider know if you have problems with blood clots or if a relative suffers from clotting.

Risk Factors For Blood Clots During Pregnancy:
1. Over 35 years of age
2. Overweight or obese
3. Smoker or are exposed to second-hand smoke regularly
4. Travelling long distances during pregnancy and being sedentary
5. Dehydration
6. Having a C-Section
7. Having health conditions like thrombopillia, diabetes or disseminated intravascular coagulation.
8. Consuming birth control pills or estrogen hormones.

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Being pregnant puts a woman on alert when she observes or experiences changes in her body. In the case of swelling or pain in one leg, pain that worsens while walking and veins that look larger than normal, consult a healthcare provider immediately. These could be symptoms of blood clot formations.

Results of Blood Clots During Pregnancy:
1. Blockage of blood vessels can lead to a cardiac arrest and can cause lasting heart damage or even death.

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2. The placenta provides the fetus with nutrition and oxygen and if it is affected by a blood clot, it can block blood flow and harm the fetus. The provision of supplies from placenta to fetus can also be insufficient if affected by a blood clot.

3. Blood clots during pregnancy can lead to poor development of the baby (Intrauterine Growth Restrictions), death before 20 weeks which is a miscarriage, or death after 20 weeks which is known as a stillbirth.

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4. Blood clots cause babies to born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. This is called a premature birth.

5. Clots can block blood flow to the brain and can cause a stroke. A stoke can also occur if a blood vessel in the brain bursts open due to blockage. 8 out of 100,000 women experience strokes during pregnancy or childbirth and it can have lasting effects or prove fatal.

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6. A blood clot that travels from the place of formation to another place in the body is known as an embolisim. In the case of an embolisim moving to the lung, it is called a Pulminary embolisim and is a serious case. Mothers who experience
a. Breathing issues
b. Chest pain
c. Anxiety
d. Blood coughs
e. Fast or irregular heartbeat
f. Fainting
… need to consult their healthcare providers immediately as PE is a leading cause of death during pregnancy.

7. Preeclampsia is a condition that can affect pregnant women after the 20th week. This disease can affect functionality of the organs like the kidneys or liver and can lead to high blood pressure. Severe headaches, changes in vision and protein in urine test results are cause by Preeclampsia.

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8. When blood starts to clot inside a blood vessel, affecting the flow of blood through the circulatory system, it is known as Thrombosis. Thrombosis most commonly occurs in the deep veins of the legs but there are variations to this dangerous condition-
a. Cerebral vein thrombosis (CVT)- Blood clot formation in a vein of the brain.
b. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)- Blood clot formation deep in the veins of thighs or lower legs.
c. Venous thromboembolism (VTE)- Blood clots that break off and travel through the blood stream to other vital organs like the lungs, heart or brain.

If you are experiencing mild to heavy blood loss, consult your healthcare provider immediately so they can refer appropriate tests to check for clotting. Do not wait for matters to worsen, it’s best to prevent complications like blood clots at the cusp, especially when you are carrying your little one.

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