Protecting Your Childbirth Against Blood Clots
For many women, pregnancy is a time of joy. But, for women with a history of blood clots, it can be a time of uncertainty.
Blood clots occur usually in the legs, arms, or lungs. Women are especially at risk for a blood clot during pregnancy, childbirth, and the 3-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 also may 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.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.For more information, visit www.stoptheclot.org/spreadtheword.