Blood clots occur naturally as the body's way of preventing excessive blood loss from injury, surgery, child birth or other circumstances. Blood clots during pregnancy are more common because of the excess clotting factor in the pregnant mother's blood that is intended to help stave off excessive bleeding after delivery. They also might occur because of long periods of inactivity from bed rest or surgical delivery. Knowing the signs and symptoms of blood clots will help expectant mothers identify them early and receive treatment.
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According to the March of Dimes, patients with thrombophilia disorders are at higher risk of developing blood clots during pregnancy as well as after delivery, particularly surgical delivery. Thrombophilia disorders encourage blood clotting by either hindering the proteins that prevent blood clots or by making too much of the protein that causes clotting. People with thrombophilia disorders typically do not exhibit symptoms on a day-to-day basis, but they might develop blood clots in places where they are not needed and can cause damage.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
A blood clot that forms in a major vein of the leg, and occasionally the arms or pelvis, will cause sudden pain, swelling of the leg, ankle or calf and tenderness. The skin near the clot might become red or discolored and might be warm to the touch. This type of blood clot is called a deep vein thrombosis, or DVT.
Sometimes, a DVT will become detached from its original position and travel to the lungs. This is called a pulmonary embolism and can be extremely dangerous. When the clot becomes lodged in the lungs or heart, adequate blood flow to the body is prevented. According to the American Society of Hematology, symptoms of a pulmonary embolism are sharp chest pain, an increased pulse, a cough that might produce blood, shortness of breath, sweating and possibly fever. Immediate medical attention is required.
Blood Clots and Pregnancy
The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute reports that miscarriage, still birth, and the development of preeclampsia, or high blood pressure during pregnancy, can be caused by blood clots during pregnancy. Because many circumstances can play a role in the loss of a pregnancy through miscarriage or stillbirth and preeclampsia, blood clots or a blood clotting disorder might not be suspected in some cases, as there might be no other symptoms to identify blood clots as the culprit.
Prevention of Blood Clot During Pregnancy
The American Hematology Society reports that blood clots during pregnancy are largely preventable. Knowing your risk factors, family history and informing your doctor of this information is vital. During pregnancy, it is important to remain as active as the pregnancy will allow, especially if you are at risk of forming blood clots during or immediately after your pregnancy. Know the signs and symptoms of blood clots and seek medical attention immediately if you suspect a blood clot.