The natural changes that occur during pregnancy and in the three months after giving birth to your little one can leave you at a higher risk of developing blood clots. According to an article on the CDC, you’re 5 times more likely to experience a blood clot during this time.
I know this sounds worrying, but we got you, Mom. There are plenty of things you can do to minimize your risk of developing blood clots, so you can enjoy your pregnancy and your time as a new mom, knowing you’re looking after your health.
What Increases My Risk of Blood Clotting?
During pregnancy, your body is changing continuously to accommodate for the new life you’re creating. One of the ways it does this is by clotting your blood to prepare for less blood loss during labor and delivery.
Blood clots that form in the deep veins of the legs and pelvic area are known as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and are a danger to moms-to-be because they can put them at risk for life-threatening conditions like a Pulmonary Embolism (PE) if the DVT breaks off and travels to the lungs.
Blood clots are also the leading cause of miscarriage in the US, so it is super important that you know what your level of risk is and how to minimize it.
Things that increase your chances of getting DVT include:
- Previous blood clots
- A family history of blood clots during pregnancy
- Having a cesarean section
- Multiple births
- Increased maternal age
- Bed rest & immobility
- Fertility treatments involving hormones
- Pre-existing illnesses such as cancer or infection
How Do I Minimize my Risk?
The good news is that DVT, and other blood clotting conditions, are preventable. That means that you can take the proper precautions and relax in the knowledge that you’ve done everything you can to have a healthy, clot-free pregnancy, labor, and after-birth.
1. Know your family history
Knowledge is power! If you know your risk — you can act accordingly. It’s wise to check in with any family members who are moms, and see if they had any issues relating to blood clotting during their pregnancies. If they did, talk to your doctor. If there is a family history of DVT and your risk is high, you may need to be on anticoagulation medication during your pregnancy.
2. Exercise as much as possible
Unless you’re on strict bed rest (and if you are, skip to number 3) then you should be as active as you possibly can. This keeps your blood flowing through your veins and prevents it from clotting due to stagnation. Even if you’re at the end of your pregnancy, or have just given birth and can’t move around too much, stretching your legs every 1-2 hours will help to keep your blood circulating. www.veinspecialists.com has a fantastic article that includes leg exercises you can do to stimulate blood flow in your legs.
3. On bed rest? Get a Plasma Flow machine
If you’re restricted to your bed, don’t panic. There is a way to improve your circulation at home and reduce your risk of DVT and pulmonary embolisms — a plasma flow. This type of machine is designed to stimulate blood flow to the legs, which can help prevent swelling and clotting. It relieves tired and achy legs and can even help prevent varicose veins, reduce edemas in the lower limbs, and relieve venous pressure. A plasma flow is safe to use at any time during your pregnancy. It is particularly helpful for new moms who have just had a c-section because it reduces pain and swelling and can even speed up wound healing time.
At The Mommy Care Kit, we have an FDA-approved Plasma Flow that our customers love, because it eases their pain without pills, and they know it is safe for mommy and baby alike.
- Prevents blood clots by improving circulation
- Reduces post-operative pain and swellin Prevents DVT, varicose veins, and pulmonary embolisms
- Can be used if you are stationary for long periods of time
- Helps treat DVT, stasis dermatitis, venous stasis ulcers, arterial and diabetic leg ulcers, chronic venous insufficiency, and reduction of edema in the lower limbs
4. Stay hydrated
Did you know that when you’re dehydrated, your blood vessels narrow and your blood thickens? When you’re pregnant, try to avoid anything that dehydrates you — such as caffeine — and drink lots of water to help thin your blood, so you’re less likely to develop blood clots. Drinking more water than usual during pregnancy has a host of other benefits too, such as increased energy, reduced swelling, and a reduced risk of UTIs and constipation.
Staying super hydrated also decreases your risk of preterm labor and preterm birth, so upping your water intake is always a good idea.
5. Wear compression stockings
Your body is producing 50% more fluid while you’re pregnant, so even if your risk of developing blood clots is low, it’s still a good idea to wear compression stockings. You may not need them early on in your pregnancy, but as you reach the second and third trimester and your legs start to swell from the pressure of the extra weight you’re carrying, they can help tremendously. They can relieve your aches and pains and minimize varicose veins, as well as preventing blood clots by improving your circulation.
Don’t forget to talk to your doctor about how much you should exercise and rest, based on your individual medical history. You should also make yourself aware of the signs of DVT and blood clots during pregnancy, which include sudden shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness, and a rapid heartbeat. For more detailed information on this, we recommend you check out this brilliant article on www.healthline.com.
Love & baby hugs,
The Mommy Care Club