Today is International Women's Day. While blood clots (deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism) affect both men and women, there are unique considerations for women.
- Blood clots can be life-threatening during pregnancy and are the leading cause of maternal death in the United States. (ref 1)
- A woman is at increased risk for developing blood clots during pregnancy and that risk remains elevated for up to six-weeks following childbirth. Pregnancy increases the risk of a blood clot fivefold, with the risk even higher in the postpartum timeperiod. (2)
- Post-menopausal women undergoing hormone replacement therapy have a two to four fold increase in the risk for clots. (3)
- Women with a clotting disorder (thrombophilia) have increased clot risk. About 8% of the US population is estimated to have a clotting disorder and a clotting disorder is found in upwards of 50% of women who have a blood clot during pregnancy.
- Women with a clotting disorder experience a higher rate of pregnancy complications including repeated miscarriage or stillbirth.(4)
- Oral contraceptives increase clot risk. Some contraceptives carry higher risk than others. More information on contraceptives and clot risk. (5)
Clot Connect offers information about clotting concerns unique to women: index of topics and materials related to women's health.
1. Berg CJ, Atrash HK, Koonin LM, Tucker M. “Pregnancy-related mortality in the United States 1987-1990”. Obstet Gynecol 1996;88(2):161-7 Also see Marik. P.E. and Plante, L.A. “Venous Thromboembolic Disease and Pregnancy”. New England Journal of Medicine, volume 359, number 19, November 6, 2008, pages 2025-2033.
2.Heit JA, Kobbervig CE, James AH, Petterson TM,Bailey KR, Melton LJ, 3rd. Trends in the incidenceof venous thromboembolism during pregnancy or postpartum: a 30-year population-based study. Ann Intern Med 2005;143(10):697-706
3. Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism US Department of Health and Human Services 2008
4. March of Dimes