Facing a C-Section? New Advice May Prevent Blood Clots
Pregnant moms: If you undergo a C-section, your doctor may now ask you to wear inflatable boots during surgery to protect against dangerous blood clots.
New guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that the boots be used routinely during C-sections, The Associated Press reports. Compression boots are already a regular part of other operations, such as hip replacements.
They may reduce the risk of a deep vein thrombosis or DVT, a potentially deadly clot that usually forms in the leg or groin and can travel to the lungs. Pregnant women are particularly susceptible. From the AP:
A woman’s risk of a DVT jumps during pregnancy and the six weeks afterward. That’s partly because of slower blood flow from the weight gain, and because mom is less active in the last trimester and during those first few weeks of recovery from childbirth.
It’s also because pregnancy temporarily changes blood to make it clot more easily.
“This is a consequence of nature’s protecting women against the bleeding challenges of childbirth,” explains Dr. Andra James of Duke University, who co-authored the new guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Add a C-section and, like any major surgery, it further increases that risk.
James said symptoms of DVT include pain and swelling in just one leg, redness and warmth in one part of the leg, and chest pain, which may signal that the clot reached a lung.
Doctors may need to watch some women closely for DVT throughout pregnancy, the AP reports.
Women who’ve had a DVT earlier in life, or whose close relatives had one – or who have certain inherited clotting disorders – may need anti-clotting medicines throughout the pregnancy, say the recommendations, published in the September issue of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.
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