C-Section Births Significantly Raise Blood Clot Risk

James explained, “Fitting inflatable compression devices on a woman’s legs before cesarean delivery is a safe, potentially cost-effective preventive intervention…. Inflatable compression sleeves should be left in place until a woman is able to walk after delivery or - in women who had been on blood thinners during pregnancy - until anticoagulation medication is resumed.” However, in the case of emergency C-sections, delaying delivery for placement of the devices must be avoided.

The authors noted that women having a history of VTE during pregnancy, or a history of excessive clotting, as well as those at an increased risk for inherited clotting disorders, should receive anti-clotting medication.

The authors also cautioned that all women who have undergone C-sections also need to be monitored for the development of VTE post delivery. James said, “Because half of VTE-related maternal deaths occur during pregnancy and the rest during the postpartum period, ongoing patient assessment is imperative. While warning signs in some women may be evident early in pregnancy, others will develop symptoms that manifest later in pregnancy or after the baby is born.”

The deep veins of the left leg are most commonly affected by VTE during pregnancy, and the majority of women who develop the condition suffer pain or swelling in their lower leg or legs. The possibility for clots to travel into the lungs and cause another potentially fatal condition known as Pulmonary embolism also exists. Symptoms of this condition include sudden chest pain, coughing, and shortness of breath.


by Ren Trippel

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