DVT during Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be an exciting time. However, pregnancy can also pose a variety health risks that were not issues before you became pregnant. One health risk during pregnancy is the increased risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis.

Deep Vein Thrombosis, or DVT, is a blood clot in the deep veins of the body. Deep veins run through the legs, arms, pelvis, and abdomen. Typically DVT occurs in the leg or pelvis.

During pregnancy, physiological factors designed to protect the growing fetus can also cause problems with bleeding and blood clotting in the woman. There are typically changes in blood clotting in order to act as a protective agent against hemorrhaging during the delivery of the baby. In addition, the flow of blood slows down due to the increased blood volume created in order to ensure that the placenta receives adequate blood. Pregnant women also often rest more often, reducing the blood flow to the legs and pelvis. Finally, the growing fetus and uterus also can put pressure on the veins of the pelvis reducing blood flow. All of these factors drastically increase the risk of a blood clot in the deep veins of the body.

There are several symptoms of a blood clot that pregnant women should be aware of. First, there can be pain and tenderness in the affected limb, usually a leg. Only one leg will be affected, so pain in both legs is not typically related to a blood clot. The limb may also swell and turn a pale blue or purple color. Any woman who experiences these symptoms should immediately contact their Woodstock vein specialist.

If a blood clot is suspected, an ultrasound of the affected limb will be ordered. A blood test called the d-dimer test may also be ordered. Once the clot is confirmed, medications such as heparin may be used to prevent the clot from getting bigger and allow the body to absorb the clot. The pregnancy may also be monitored more closely following the diagnosis.

 

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