Experts: C-Sections may be double the risk for blood clots

Experts: C-Sections may be double the risk for blood clotsExperts at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have suggested that the risk of thromboembolism, a potentially deadly condition, is higher during pregnancy, and that having a Cesarean section almost doubles that risk, HealthDay reports.

According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is when a blood clot forms in a vein inside the body. It occurs when blood thickens and sticks together, and is most commonly found in the lower leg or thigh. The condition can become deadly when the clot breaks off and travels to the lungs, where it blocks oxygen.

The experts have issued a new recommendation that when undergoing a C-section, all women should wear inflatable compression devices on their legs while delivering in order to prevent the potentially lethal cloths from forming. They also suggested that in riskier cases, women may need to receive anticoagulants, or blood thinners, the media outlet stated.

"VTE [venous thromboembolism] is a major contributor to maternal mortality in this country. The risk of VTE is increased during pregnancy and the consequences can be severe," Dr. Andra H. James, who helped develop the guidelines, said in a recent news release. "It's important for ob-gyns to adopt these recommendations to help reduce maternal deaths."

The experts warn that there are factors that put pregnant women at greater risk for blood clots than others due to physiological differences, including thicker blood, slower blood flow and the compression of veins in the pelvic area, the news provider stated.

Women who have high blood pressure, previous experiences with VTE, are obese or smokers are also at a much higher risk for clotting during a C-section.

"Inflatable compression sleeves should be left in place until a woman is able to walk after delivery or — in women who had been on blood thinners during pregnancy — until anticoagulation medication is resumed," James stated.

The experts suggested that since half of VTE-related maternal deaths occur during pregnancy, and the other half shortly after delivery, ongoing patient assessment is "imperative," as warning signs may be more apparent early in pregnancy, while others will develop the conditions after the baby is born.

Emergency C-section are an exception to the recommendations, as delivery should not be delayed while the compression devices are put into place, according to HealthDay.