Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is a serious condition that can prove life threatening. During pregnancy, your risk of developing DVT is increased. Here is what you need to know about the medical condition so you can protect you and your baby.
Why Are You at a Greater Risk?
DVT causes a blood clot to develop in a deep vein. During pregnancy, proteins that cause blood clotting increase, while anti-clotting proteins decrease. As a result, you are at a higher risk of developing DVT while pregnant.
Your risk also increases due to the increased pressure on your veins due to having an enlarged uterus. The pressure slows the transport of blood from your lower body to your heart.
There are other factors that can add to your risk of developing DVT. For instance, if you are overweight or have a family history of DVT, your risk increases. Being immobile for too long can also add to your risk.
What Can You Do?
One of the most important steps you can take to prevent DVT is to alert your OB/GYN if you have a family history of the medical condition. Your doctor can monitor your condition and recommend medical intervention, if necessary.
You can also take steps at home to reduce your risk of developing DVT. For instance, you can cut down on the amount of salt you consume. Small steps, such as opting for low sodium products, can make a significant impact on your risk. Wearing support hose can also help to keep the blood circulating in your legs.
If your doctor has placed you on bed rest, talk to him or her about exercises you can do to help encourage the flow of blood throughout your body. Avoid crossing your legs or putting pillows under your knees while confined to the bed.
In addition to these measures, if you smoke, you need to stop. Smoking causes your blood vessels to narrow, which can hinder the flow of blood. It also damages the lining of the blood vessels.
When Should You Worry?
It is important that you are familiar with the signs of DVT. If you experience any of the signs, seek medical treatment immediately. Signs of DVT include pain in the calf and thighs, swelling, difficulty breathing, and chest pain.
With early detection, your doctor can take prescribe medications that can help thin your blood. He or she can also take steps to help prevent future clots from developing. Reach out to professionals such as Elite Vein Centers for more information.