Soon-To-Be Moms! Know Your Blood Clot Risk
(Ivanhoe Newswire) – Venous thromboembolism, a blood clot which forms inside a vein, can be very dangerous, and for women about to have a baby, a very real concern. Even women with no risk factors for VTE can develop a blood clot after birth. Now a new study tests what factors increase a woman’s risk of VTE so that soon-to-be moms will be able to better understand their own risk.
“It affects around one or two pregnancies per 1,000 but, despite this, remains a leading cause of mortality in expectant and new mothers in developed countries,” lead researcher Dr. Matthew Grainge, an Epidemiologist at the University of Nottingham’s School of Community Health Sciences, was quoted as saying.
From January 1995 to July 2009, researchers studied the patient records, hospital discharge forms and medications prescribed by primary healthcare professionals of close to 400,000 pregnant women between the ages of 15 and 44. Risk factors that received the most attention were the women’s age, BMI, whether they smoked, pregnancy related complications like high blood pressure, how the baby was delivered, and co-existing medical factors.
After analyzing all of the data, researchers discovered smoking, a BMI over 25, and being 35 or older only slightly raised women’s risk of VTE during pregnancy. However, if the woman’s BMI tops 30 she is four times as likely to develop a blood clot and that risk increases six-fold if the woman has a still birth.
Other factors linked to a higher risk of VTE during pregnancy include pre-existing diabetes, varicose veins, previous births, premature birth, bleeding during pregnancy, and inflammatory bowel disease. In fact, the only factor measured by this study found not to increase a woman’s VTE risk was pre-existing high blood pressure.
Although the dangerous blood clots can be severe and even cause death, preventative medications do exist and several risk factors can be prevented through lifestyle changes. The hope is more awareness will lead to even better preventative measures.
“There is currently inconsistency and disagreement over the factors which put women in that high-risk category and we hope that this research will provide clinicians with valuable new information,” Dr. Grainge was quoted as saying.
For women considering starting their own family, these preventative measures could mean the difference between a healthy birth and a life-threatening complication.
Source: Blood, April 2013