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Treatment of venous thrombosis in pregnancy and after birth

Published: 01/09/2011

Thrombosis is a blood clot in a blood vessel (a vein or an artery). Venous thrombosis occurs in a vein. Veins are the blood vessels that take blood towards the heart and lungs; arteries take the blood away. A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in a deep vein of the leg, calf or pelvis.

Venous thrombosis in women is more likely to occur during pregnancy and in the first 6 weeks after the birth of your baby. The risk for this group of women is 1 in 500, which is ten times more likely than for women who are the same age but not pregnant. You are at highest risk of getting a DVT and/or pulmonary embolism just after you have had your baby. However, it can occur at any time during your pregnancy, including the first 3 months.

This information leaflet covers:

  • Why a DVT is serious
  • Who is at risk of venous thrombosis
  • How venous thrombosis is diagnosed during pregnancy
  • Tests and any associated risks
  • Treatment
  • What you should do when labour starts
  • What happens after birth
  • Whether it is safe to breastfeed while receiving treatment