Women who are pregnant have an elevated risk of forming blood clots. While the overall risks are fairly low-roughly one in 1,000 for normal pregnancies-they are significant enough to merit attention. This is especially true in light of rising numbers of women becoming pregnant through IVF, which studies show significantly raises the risk of blood clots.
Recent research conducted in Sweden shows that women who had IVF treatments to help them become pregnant were more than four times as likely to develop blood clots. Additionally, the study showed that women who had undergone IVF treatments had significantly raised chances of suffering from conditions such as venous thrombosis (blood clots with the veins) and pulmonary embolism (blockage of the arteries associated with the lungs) which are related to blood clotting.
There are several risk factors for blood clotting during pregnancy in addition to having received IVF treatments. These include:
- Family history of blood clotting or related conditions. If anyone in your family has had blood clotting issues, make sure your doctor is aware of it.
- Previous C-sections. Surgical deliveries increase the likelihood of blood clotting.
- Obesity. If you are significantly overweight, make sure to discuss ways in which you can reduce the risk of blood clotting and other weight-related pregnancy complications with your doctor.
- Long periods of bed rest. These may be necessary due to other conditions, but it’s important to be aware of the increased risk of blood clotting.
- Long periods of physical inactivity. If your job is sedentary of during long car trips, try to take frequent breaks to stretch and move about.
Blood clots can be dangerous-deadly, even- to you and your baby. Fortunately, they are fairly routine for doctors to detect and they are treatable when caught. Doctors typically prescribe an anticoagulant (blood thinner) for women who have significant risk factors for blood clotting during pregnancy. They may also recommend an appropriate low impact exercise regimen which can help reduce the likelihood of clotting.
If you have any of the risk factors for blood clotting and have not already done so, discuss them with your health care professional.
Do you have any of the risk factors for blood clotting? If so, what are you doing to reduce your risk of blood clots?