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Having a child is one of the most momentous events in a woman’s life, but pregnancy also ushers in a series of changes you may not expect. One example of this is an increased risk of developing blood clots (thrombosis) and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
If not properly dealt with, thrombosis during pregnancy can be very harmful to your health, as part of the clot may break off and cause more serious issues such as pulmonary embolism (PE) or a stroke. Of course, this risk also poses a danger to your baby. However, blood clots and DVT are highly preventable: read on to find out the causes and risk factors, as well as how you can reduce the risk of DVT due to prothrombotic changes during pregnancy.
The key link between thrombosis and pregnancy is that your blood is more prone to clotting as your body prepares to minimise blood loss during child birth. Pregnant women may also experience less blood flow to the legs later in pregnancy because the growing baby presses upon the blood vessels around the pelvis. Furthermore, the additional weight and the expanded uterus exert pressure on the leg veins. As a result, many pregnant women experience tired and swollen legs and the risk of developing thrombosis is increased.
In order to be alert to the potential for developing blood clots during pregnancy, it’s important to be aware of the following risk factors:
There are also several steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing blood clots during pregnancy. Lifestyle factors such as exercising regularly (when permitted by your doctor), eating a healthy diet and quitting smoking are all effective ways to reduce your risk. If you’re embarking on a long journey, get up and stretch your legs as often as you possibly can. In addition, wearing special JOBST compression stockings for pregnancy throughout the maternity period can be a highly effective prevention method. These garments are specially adapted to the needs of pregnant women and can help to reduce the risk of thrombosis by applying pressure to the legs and feet, promoting healthy blood flow to the heart.