One major complication in pregnancy and postpartum is the risk of developing a blood clot. You can develop a blood clot in a vein known as, deep vein thrombosis. This can occur in any vein however most common is in the calf region. A blood clot that starts in the calf can dislodge into the blood and can then travel to the lungs and become a pulmonary embolism.
Women who are recently in the postpartum phase are most at risk because of the body changes. In the postpartum stage your body changes by increasing your clotting factors which places you at risk for a blood clot.
Certain factors increase your chance of getting this problem in the postpartum period. These include have a cesarean delivery, smoking, over age of 35, diabetes, prolonged bed rest and having a previous history of having a blood clot.
Blood clots can be deadly, and noticing symptoms of a blood clot and prompt treatment is essential.
Warning signs of a blood clot:
- Pain and swelling in one calf
- Redness and warmth area in one calf
- Tenderness in calf
- Sudden onset of shortness of breath
- Sudden onset of chest pain, or palpitations
- Fever chills
- Cough, with or with out blood
Tips to avoid having a blood clot
- Avoid prolonged periods of immobility or bed rest
- Start walking in the postpartum period early and frequently
- Avoid sitting with your legs crossed which can causes poor blood return
- Drink 8-10 glasses of fluids
- Stop smoking or decrease in the amount of smoking
Here is a great video on the overview of blood clots:
Call your healthcare if you experience:
- You feel your heart beating very fast.
- You have weakness or cannot move your arm or leg on one side of your body.
- Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful or if it look swollen and red.
- If you have a sudden experience of feeling dizzy, lightheadedness
- If you have a sudden experience of shortness of breath or difficult breathing
- You have chest pain. You may have more pain when you take a deep breath or cough. You may cough up blood.
- You have a severe headache or a seizure.
- You become confused, sleepy, or cannot speak clearly.
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