By Dr. Sunitha Ilinani, Gynaecology
Blood clots also known as thrombosis, occurs when the body creates cells called platelets to block the flow of blood. Clotting of blood is a necessary function for the body to be able to deal with small cuts or injuries. However, when blood clots occur internally due to underlying conditions, it can cause serious health complications by blocking veins and arteries and can even become life threatening.
Blood clotting during pregnancy is normal, but sometimes it may cause problems in certain women. During pregnancy, the blood may sometimes tend to clot in the deep veins of the leg and pelvic region. This condition is known as deep vein thrombosis or DVT. When DVT travels to the blood vessels of lungs then the condition is known as pulmonary embolism (PE) and can be very serious.
Blood clot can harm the baby as it can occur within the placenta or where it joins the uterine wall. Although blood clots do occur within the placenta fairly frequently, they usually go away on their own. It is, however, an absolute necessity to consult a doctor in such matters and let him or her determine what needs to be done.
WHO COULD BE AT RISK?
- If you or your family has a history of DVT.
- If you have undergone a long strenuous journey during pregnancy.
- If you are a chain smoker or exposed to second hand smoking.
- If you have had a caesarean section earlier.
- Being overweight or obese is a prime cause.
- If you are above 35 years of age.
SIGNS OF BLOOD CLOTTING:
- Swelling on the leg.
- Worsening pain during walks.
- Veins that look larger than normal.
RISKS INVOLVING BLOOD CLOT DURING PREGNANCY:
- Blood clotting in the placenta which can affect the baby’s health and development.
- Heart attacks.
- Pulmonary embolism that may affect breathing or the proper functioning of the lungs in any fashion.
HOW TO PREVENT BLOOD CLOTTING:
- Do light exercises as prescribed your doctor regularly to ensure smooth circulation.
- Eat Healthy.
- Quit smoking.
If you are diagnosed with blood clotting, you will be treated with anti-coagulant along with the prescribed lifestyle and diet changes.