Women who have suffered a still birth or have medical conditions including varicose veins, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or heart disease are at greater risk of developing dangerous blood clots after giving birth, a study has revealed.
The research, led by academics at The University of Nottingham, found that being obese, suffering bleeding during pregnancy or labour and having a premature birth or delivery via caesarean section also increased the risk of a venous thromboembolism (VTE).
Their findings, published in the American Society of Hematology journal Blood, could have important implications for the way in which at-risk women are identified and preventative measures administered.
Epidemiologist Dr Matthew Grainge, in the University's School of Community Health Sciences, who led the study, said: "VTE is a rare but serious complication of pregnancy and childbirth. It affects around one or two pregnancies per 1,000 but, despite this, remains a leading cause of mortality in expectant and new mothers in developed countries.
"Preventative measures for VTE, such as a daily dose of heparin, may not be cost effective or safe and are therefore only recommended for women who are considered high risk. However, there is currently inconsistency and disagreement over the factors which put women in that high-risk category and we hope that this research will provide clinicians with valuable new information."
VTE such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) are blood clots that form in a blood vessel and can be potentially life-threatening if the clot breaks off (embolises) and travels to the lung causing a blockage of the arteries of the lung known as pulmonary embolism (PE).
The study used data from GP patient records, hospital discharge forms and medications prescribed by primary healthcare professionals to study pregnancies of women aged between 15 and 44 between January 1995 and July 2009 totalling almost 400,0
|Contact: Emma Thorne|
University of Nottingham