Don’t Let a Blood Clot Spoil the Joy of Pregnancy or Childbirth

One health issue pregnant women should think about is the risk for a dangerous blood clot. Blood clots occur usually in the legs, arms or lungs. Women are especially at risk for a blood clot during pregnancy, childbirth, and the three-month period after delivery.

During pregnancy, a woman’s blood naturally clots more easily to help her body deal with blood loss during childbirth. A pregnant woman may also be at even higher risk for a blood clot if she:

• has a family or personal history of blood clots or a blood clotting disorder,

• has a C-section, or

• is immobile for long periods of time due to decreased activity, such as being on bed rest.

Signs and Symptoms of a Blood Clot

It’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of a blood clot. The signs and symptoms of a blood clot in the legs or arms include:

• Swelling

• Pain or tenderness not caused by injury

• Skin that is warm to the touch, red or discolored.

If you have these signs or symptoms, alert your doctor as soon as possible.

A blood clot in your legs or arms can travel to your lungs, which can be life threatening. Signs and symptoms of a blood clot in your lungs include:

• Difficulty breathing

• Chest pain that worsens with a deep breath or cough

• Coughing up blood

• Faster than normal or irregular heartbeat.

Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of these signs or symptoms.

Prevention of a Blood Clot

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Blood Clot Alliance share these safe and effective ways to prevent a blood clot:

• Tell your doctor if you or a family member has had a blood clot and discuss all your possible risks.

• Work with your doctor to reduce your risk for a blood clot.

• Exercise as much as your doctor recommends, move around frequently if you sit for long periods of time, and drink plenty of liquids.

• Follow your doctor’s instructions for prevention of a blood clot.

• Take medicine as prescribed, and use any compression devices your doctor prescribes to help improve blood flow.

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If you are expecting a baby or recently gave birth, there are many exciting things to do – from doctor’s visits, catching the first glimpse of your developing baby during an ultrasound, to picking out baby clothes. The list can seem never-ending. Make sure you are able to enjoy all these special moments and plans by making your health a top priority. (StatePoint)