Blood Clots Are a Leading Cause

USA TODAY, October 2018 | Go to article overview

Blood Clots Are a Leading Cause


Blood clots are a leading cause of pregnancy-related death in the U.S., and pregnant women face up to a five-fold increased risk for a blood clot compared to women who are not pregnant. After delivery, this risk for a blood clot is highest during the first six weeks, and remains high through the first three months, according to the National Blood Clot Alliance and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dangerous blood clots develop in the deep veins of the body, usually in the legs (called deep vein thrombosis or DVT), and can travel to the lungs (called pulmonary embolism or PE). Blood clots in the lungs account for nine percent of all deaths among pregnant women in the U.S.

"It's crucial that pregnant women understand that blood clots are a real risk during pregnancy, delivery, and for up to three months after delivery," says Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of CDC.

Explains Andra James, consulting professor in obstetrics and gynecology at Duke University, "Normal pregnancy is associated with major changes in blood clotting that aim to prevent potential blood loss during childbirth. …

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