Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition in which a blood clot forms in the deep veins of your body. Deep veins are exactly what they sound like: they are situated deep inside your body, much farther away from your skin’s surface than other veins. Because the veins are not visible, a clot could form unnoticed. And if it doesn’t get treated, it could break free from its initial position, travelling through the circulatory system and ending up in other parts of your body. If that happens, you could be facing a life-threatening medical emergency, especially if the clot travels to your lungs (also known as a pulmonary embolism.)
Many factors can elevate your risk of DVT, including long plane flights, surgery and your age.
Today, we also know that COVID-19 increases your risk for blood clots and DVT, even if your initial symptoms were relatively mild.
Of course, right now, pregnancy already feels frightening. You may be worried about delivering during the times of Coronavirus, and we aren’t here to scare you.
Still, in this post, we’re going to look at the connection between pregnancy and your risk for DVT, so you can help protect your vein health during this very different time. When you are pregnant, the blood-clotting factors in your body fluctuate, making clotting more likely. In fact, most pregnant women have a DVT rate that is five-times higher than when they are not expecting. And this elevated risk is a very big deal: DVT is one of the leading killers for pregnant women; your DVT risk is highest in your third trimester and for the first week after delivering your baby.
So, now that you understand your DVT risk during pregnancy, let’s examine the ways in which we can protect your health.
Managing Your DVT Risk During Pregnancy
If you already had a history of blood clots before getting pregnant, your doctor may suggest taking blood thinners while you are expecting. But if you are an otherwise-healthy woman, making smart lifestyle choices during pregnancy can help manage your risk for DVT. Following a healthy diet, and preventing gestational diabetes, can help lower your DVT risk, since being overweight can also increase your likelihood for DVT. Sticking to a regular, doctor-approved exercise program can also help lower your risk for DVT. Of course, there are never guarantees when it comes to clot prevention. So, if you are pregnant and concerned about clotting, we invite you to discuss your DVT risk with one of our Houston-area vein specialists! Concerned about coming to the office for an in-person visit? Don’t worry: we offer Telemedicine appointments for your comfort and safety.
Sources: Journal Radiology,