Posts Tagged ‘blood clotting disorder’

World Thrombosis Day

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

pregnant woman blood pressureA blood clot (also called a thrombosis) is a mass or clump of blood that forms when blood changes from a liquid to a solid. The body normally makes blood clots to stop the bleeding after a scrape or cut. But sometimes blood clots can partly or completely block the flow of blood in a blood vessel, like a vein or artery. This can cause damage to body organs and even death. Blood clots affect 900,000 people each year and as many as 100,000 people die each year due to blood clots.

Risk factors for blood clots

Certain conditions make you more likely to have a blood clot. These include:

  • Being pregnant. Your blood clots more easily during pregnancy to help your body get ready to lessen blood loss during labor and birth. Also, blood flow in your legs gets slower late in pregnancy. This is because the blood vessels around your pelvis and other places are more compressed (narrow) and your growing uterus (womb) puts pressure on your pelvis.
  • Having certain health conditions, like a thrombophilia, high blood pressure, diabetes or being overweight or obese.  A family history of blood clotting problems also increases your chances of blood clots. If you have a family history or a personal history of a thrombophilia, make sure you tell your health care provider.
  • Taking certain medicines, like birth control pills or estrogen hormones. These medicines can increase the risk of clotting. If you’ve had problems with blood clots or thrombophilias or have a family history of these conditions, birth control pills may not be safe for you to use. Talk to your health care provider about other birth control options.
  • Smoking. Smoking damages the lining of blood vessels, which can cause blood clots to form.
  • Having surgery, like a cesarean section. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that doctors help prevent blood clots in women during a c-section. This may include using devices that put pressure on your legs to help keep your blood flowing during the c-section, like compression socks.
  • Being dehydrated. This means you don’t have enough water in your body. Dehydration causes blood vessels to narrow and your blood to thicken, which makes you more likely to have blood clots.
  • Not moving around much. This may be because you’re on bed rest during pregnancy or recovering from surgery. Being still for long periods of time can lead to poor blood flow, which makes you more likely to have blood clots. Even sitting for long periods of time, like when travelling by car or plane, can increase your chances of having a blood clot.
  • Having a baby. You’re more likely to have a blood clot in the first 6 weeks after birth than women who haven’t given birth recently.

Know the signs

Make sure you recognize the symptoms of a blood clot. These include:

  • Swelling, usually in one leg (or arm)
  • Leg pain or tenderness often described as a cramp or Charley horse
  • Reddish or bluish skin discoloration
  • Leg (or arm) warm to touch

If you have any signs or symptoms, contact your health care provider right away. Blood clots can be treated with special medications.

Have questions? Text or email us at Askus@marchofdimes.org.

My path to motherhood

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

devanOur guest post today is from Devan McGuiness, founder of Unspoken Grief, a community of support for those affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal loss.

I knew from a early age that I wanted to be a mother. In my kindergarten yearbook we were asked to share what we wanted to be when we grew up and I wrote “A Mom” – I never knew that my path to motherhood would be as painful as it was.

My journey to motherhood began in 2003 and my family was completed in 2009 after the birth of my 3rd child. I am a proud mother to three healthy children and a survivor of 10 miscarriages.

Before my first child was born I had three consecutive miscarriages each under 8 weeks and at that time began testing to see if there was a ‘fixable cause’. I had been tracking my cycles using basal body temperatures and noticed my luteal phase was only 8 days long. I was put on B vitamins to lengthen my luteal phase and was diagnosed with a progesterone deficiency.

When pregnant again I was placed on progesterone supplements for the first 5 months of pregnancy and gave birth 4 months later to my first full term healthy child. When we decided to expand our family again we were hoping everything would be more simple since we had a diagnosis and a plan. Despite our best efforts we had another two miscarriages (6-8weeks gestation) before the birth of our second full term, healthy daughter.

After some time my husband and I decided we would like to add one more child to the family. We now had two healthy children and believed we had all the information we needed for a healthy full term pregnancy. We continued to have miscarriages and knew that there must be more going on. It wasn’t until our 10th loss (14 weeks gestation) that we discovered the final piece when I was diagnosed with Factor V Leiden a blood clotting disorder that caused clots to form in the placenta causing miscarriage.

I was placed on daily aspirin therapy while we tried to conceive and watched my basal body temperatures for signs of pregnancy. When pregnant again I was placed on Fragmin – a daily blood thinner injection to reduce risks of clots forming for the duration of pregnancy. At 38 weeks I was induced and gave birth to my third healthy child.

As a survivor of 10 miscarriages I noticed a large gap in care and little understanding in the medical community and society on the impact and grief left from miscarriage. In response to the lack of support and because perinatal loss is still a very taboo subject, I founded a space which addresses the desire to connect and speak.

Unspoken Grief offers support to those directly and indirectly affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal loss through the encouragement of sharing our stories and our voices. Our hope is to allow healing through sharing our stories and connecting to those who can relate. To break the silence surrounding perinatal loss and grief and educate society on the lasting effects it can have.

You can join us for a live chat about pregnancy after multiple miscarriages on May 18th at 2 PM EST. You’ll find us, and Devan, on Twitter at #pregnancychat.