Postpartum Pulmonary Embolism: Risk Factors, Symptoms and Prevention

Postpartum Pulmonary Embolism

Risk for postpartum pulmonary embolism (also known as venous thromboembolism) is 6 times higher in pregnant woman. According to American college of obstetricians and gynecologists the risk is highest in woman during first few weeks post delivery. This is because of pregnancy induced hypercoagulability.

Postpartum Pulmonary Embolism

Postpartum Pulmonary Embolism

Hypercoagulability is a physiological mechanism which prevents post partum bleeding. But when combined with underlying factors like age above 35 years, stroke, prolonged bed rest, estrogen based medications, obesity, post surgery, smoking, having a cesarean delivery, certain genetic predisposing conditions; the risk of embolism may become substantial. In few rare cases ambolization of fat, amniotic fluid and air can also contribute to development of postpartum embolism. Risk of postpartum embolism reduces steadily through 12-13 weeks after delivery. Studies also suggest that the risk of having postpartum pulmonary embolism is more in woman with pregnancy complications.

Postpartum Pulmonary Embolism: Risk Factors, Symptoms and Prevention

Postpartum Pulmonary Embolism: Risk Factors, Symptoms & Prevention

Pulmonary embolism can be explained as a blockage of any blood vessel in the lungs by a substance that has travelled from elsewhere in the body via blood stream.

Signs and Symptoms of Postpartum Pulmonary Embolism

Postpartum pulmonary embolism may be sudden, it include chest pain which worsen by breathing, rapid breathing, low blood oxygen levels, cough, coughing up blood and shortness of breath. Few women may also present mild fever. Severe cases may also present blue discoloration of fingers and lips and collapse.

blood clot is in leg,

blood clot is in leg

In case when blood clot is in leg, woman may also show symptoms like tenderness in thighs and calf muscles, pain in leg, redness in affected area and swelling. These are signs of deep vein thrombosis and they should not be neglected, you should immediately seek medical help. Treatment includes anticoagulant therapy along with supportive treatment of oxygen and analgesics.

How to Prevent Postpartum Pulmonary Embolism

Postpartum pulmonary embolism may be preventable, certain preventive medications like low molecular weight heparin, and anti-thrombosis stockings can be used. Certain steps can help you reduce the risk of having blood clots.

Keep Moving

Stay active, practice any form of physical exercise of your choice. In the case you are advised for bed rest because of pregnancy related complications, your doctor may prescribe certain blood thinners as precautionary measure.

Maintain a Healthy Weight During Pregnancy

Avoid any extra calories, take a well balanced diet. Eat moderately; include iron, protein and vitamins in your diet. Instead of consuming large meals in one go, take small and frequent meals. Cravings are natural, but satisfy them with nutritional substitutes.

Get up During Travel

If you are travelling, always take breaks. Get up and move around every 1-2 hours. Repeat ankle roll exercise while you sit for long hours.

Wear Compression Stockings

Compression stockings help in improving blood circulation; they substantially lower the risk of blood clots.

Wear Compression Stockings

Wear Compression Stockings

Drink Lots of Water

Always stay hydrated during pregnancy; it not only reduces the risk of having bladder infections, it also reduces swelling in feet and ankles. Water helps in preventing constipation and hemorrhoids also.

Drink Lots of Water

Drink Lots of Water

For your sake and the safety of baby, do not hesitate to seek medical help because severe cases can lead to low blood pressure and sudden death.

Dr Reena Prajapat is a dentist, she post graduated in hospital management from Apollo Institute of hospital Administration, Hyderabad. Her strong belief in natural and home remedies lead her to Pursue bachelor in naturopathy.

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