In addition to your new bundle of joy, pregnancy can also bring a host of health risks such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes. However, you may not know that pregnancy can also increase your risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
At Vascular Vein Centers, we can support you with pregnancy and post-pregnancy vein care at any of our multiple locations in Florida. Here’s what to know about deep vein thrombosis if you’re expecting.
What is deep vein thrombosis?
Thrombosis is the medical term for blood clots. Though blood clots can form anywhere, deep vein thrombosis refers to blood clots that form in the deep veins found in your leg, calf, or pelvis.
Symptoms of deep vein thrombosis include:
- Swelling, pain, and tenderness in one leg
- Pain in the leg that worsens when standing, moving, or bending your foot upwards
- Reddish skin that looks stretched or shiny
Most cases of deep vein thrombosis occur in one leg, often the left leg, but rarely they can form in both legs. Additionally, some cases don’t involve any symptoms.
Risk factors for deep vein thrombosis
Pregnancy increases your risk of deep vein thrombosis fivefold because of hormonal changes, increased clotting ability, and additional pressure on the veins in your legs. Luckily this condition is still rare, with only about one in 1000 women developing deep vein thrombosis during pregnancy and post-pregnancy.
However, you may have an increased risk if you:
- are over 35 years old
- are a smoker
- have a BMI over 30
- have a personal or family history of blood clotting
- have severe varicose veins
You may also have an increased risk depending on factors during your pregnancy, such as if you:
- Are admitted to hospital
- Are carrying multiple babies
- Become dehydrated or have reduced mobility
- Have preeclampsia
When caught early, deep vein thrombosis shouldn’t seriously harm you or your baby.
Deep vein thrombosis complications
Although deep vein thrombosis is easy to treat when diagnosed, it’s important to catch it early because the blood clot may dislodge and move to another part of the body.
If the clot reaches your lungs, it can cause a rare but life-threatening condition called a pulmonary embolism. A pulmonary embolism can cause chest tightness, coughing up blood, difficulty breathing, and collapsing.
It’s rare to develop a deep vein thrombosis during pregnancy and even rarer to develop a pulmonary embolism, but it’s important to know what signs to look out for. If you do suspect you may have a deep vein thrombosis, call our DVT & leg health hotline at 833-687-6887.
We can also help you with other post-pregnancy vein issues such as varicose veins and vulvar varicosities. If you’re concerned about your vein health during pregnancy, book an appointment at your nearest Vascular Vein Center location.