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Ways to Avoid Blood Clots During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is associated with more than morning sickness and weariness; it also raises the risk of deep vein thrombosis, a preventable illness in which blood clots develop in veins. Pregnancy and the risk of DVT are inextricably linked. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pregnant women are five times more likely than non-pregnant women to have deep vein thrombosis. Up to three months after the kid is born, there is still a risk.

An untreated clot has the potential to break loose and spread through the bloodstream, which is why expecting women should be aware of the link between pregnancy and DVT. It's feared that it'll travel to the heart or lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal. 

Reasons for Deep Vein Thrombosis During Pregnancy

When a woman is expecting, why is there a higher risk of deep vein thrombosis? During pregnancy, your body goes through a lot of changes. One is the baby's compression of the pelvis. There are also changes in clotting factors in the blood that start early in pregnancy and remain until six weeks after delivery.

Hormones produced during pregnancy play a role. During pregnancy, there is a lot of estrogen in the blood, which raises the risk of blood clots. DVT is also more common in women who take estrogen-containing birth control pills. Women with thrombophilias, or inherited clotting problems, are at a considerably increased risk of deep vein thrombosis during pregnancy.

Risk Factors for Deep Vin Thrombosis During Pregnancy 

The following variables can increase your risk of having deep vein thrombosis during pregnancy:

  • Sedentary lifestyle 
  • Having extra pounds
  • Previous blood clot during pregnancy or clot outside of pregnancy
  • A genetic predisposition to blood clots
  • Certain pregnancy-related complications like preeclampsia or conditions like diabetes
  • Multiple births
  • Smoking
  • Being 35 or older
  • Fertility treatments that involve use of hormones

Race might be a risk factor as well. According to studies, the total incidence of DVT and pulmonary embolism in Black individuals is 30 to 60 percent greater than in white people. Both men and women are affected by this. So, if you’re at higher risk for DVT and are waiting for a baby, visit a vein center ASAP.

In the United States, there are significant racial differences in heart-related problems, such as blood clots, among pregnant and postpartum women. Pregnant Black women have a 42 percent higher risk of having a blood clot in the lungs than white women, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association in December 2020. Black women were also more likely to have a heart attack, stroke, or heart muscle weakening, as well as to die in the hospital.

Prevention of Pregnancy Blood Clots

Expectant women and new moms are at an elevated risk of DVT because they are pregnant or in the postpartum period, so you can't entirely avoid the danger. However, there are several things you may do to lower your risk of blood clots.

Be physically active

If you're overweight and inactive, your blood flow will be affected, and you'll be more likely to get deep vein thrombosis during pregnancy. So keep moving and keep a healthy weight. If you need to be on bed rest due to an injury or pregnancy issue, your doctor may prescribe blood thinners as a precaution.

Get up during travel 

Flying is a risk factor for DVT in and of itself, thus pregnant women who fly are at a higher risk. If you must fly, get up and walk about every hour or two, and do ankle roll exercises while sitting. Do the same if you're taking a long car or bus travel.

Consider compression stockings

Compression stockings can help minimize your risk of deep vein thrombosis in pregnancy by improving circulation and reducing swelling in the legs.

Stay hydrated 

By keeping the blood from becoming too thick, staying hydrated throughout pregnancy helps to prevent clots. Women should drink 10 glasses of liquid per day during pregnancy and 12 to 13 glasses per day during breastfeeding, according to the CDC.

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