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Keywords

Heparin, Pregnancy, Pulmonary embolism, Thrombosis

 

Authors

  1. Colman-Brochu, Stephanie MSN, RN

ABSTRACT

This article provides a review of the incidence, pathophysiology, and treatment of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in pregnancy, a rare but serious complication of pregnancy. The incidence of DVT in pregnancy varies widely, but it is a leading cause of maternal morbidity in both the United States and the United Kingdom. Risk factors during pregnancy include prolonged bed rest or immobility, pelvic or leg trauma, and obesity. Additional risk factors are preeclampsia, Cesarean section, instrument-assisted delivery, hemorrhage, multiparity, varicose veins, a previous history of a thromboembolic event, and hereditary or acquired thrombophilias such as Factor V Leiden. Heparin is the anticoagulant of choice to treat active thromboembolic disease or to administer for thromboprophylaxis, but low molecular-weight heparin is being used with increasing frequency in the pregnant woman. Perinatal nurses should be aware of the symptoms, diagnostic tools, and treatment options available to manage active thrombosis during pregnancy and in the intrapartum and postpartum periods.