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:
• 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.
For more information, visit www.stoptheclot.org/spreadtheword/pregnancy.
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.