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Beware of Thick Blood during Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a happy waiting period to welcome the baby's arrival, but at the same time it is also thrilling. There are several health problems that may occur during pregnancy. One of them is a disorder of blood viscosity.

In medical terms, thick blood is referred to as thrombophilia or hypercoagulation, which means that blood cells have a tendency to freeze and clot, causing blockage in the blood vessels.

During pregnancy, blood viscosity can increase and the blood clotting process is easier to occur. Most people with thick blood don't have typical symptoms. In some people, this disorder does not even cause complaints at all. Complaints due to thick blood only appear when blood clots form and clog arteries.

Why Blood Can Thicken When Pregnant?

Increased blood viscosity is a mechanism for protecting pregnant women's bodies from the risk of bleeding, for example during a miscarriage or after childbirth. That is why, when pregnant, a woman becomes 4-5 times more at risk for experiencing thick or hypercoagulated blood.

Thick blood is estimated to occur in 1 in 1000 pregnancies. The following factors can increase the risk of blood viscosity, as well as complications due to the condition:

  • Have family members who suffer from gore
  • More than 35 years old
  • Twin pregnancy
  • Having excess weight or obesity
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Smoke
  • Suffering from certain diseases, such as lupus and antiphospholipid syndrome, can also increase a person's risk of experiencing thick blood.

In addition, the enlarged uterus during pregnancy can suppress blood vessels in the abdominal area. This can cause disruption of blood flow, especially in the legs, and aggravate the condition of gore.

1. Types of blood viscosity and symptoms

Some of the following blood viscosity diseases can cause blood to become thick:

2. Lack of protein C, protein S, and antithrombin

These three proteins act to prevent the formation of blood clots, or in other words, function as natural blood thinners. If all three levels are low, blood clots will occur more easily. This type of blood viscosity disorder is often caused by genetic disorders.

3. Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS)

Diagnosis of this disease in pregnancy can be ascertained if a woman experiences three consecutive miscarriages or at least one fetal death at advanced gestational age.

In patients with APS, the body produces antibodies that prevent phospholipids from fighting blood clots. As a result, the risk of blockage due to blood clots will increase.

Women with antiphospholipid syndrome are at a higher risk of developing pregnancy disorders, such as miscarriage, fetal death, preeclampsia, and low birth weight.

4. Leiden V Factor

The Leiden V factor is a type of blood viscosity disease caused by a genetic disorder. Patients with this type of blood viscosity disorder can experience spontaneous blood clots without any trigger factors.

Read Also : Various Ways to Overcome Blurred Vision during Pregnancy

Symptoms of gore when pregnant

Thick blood usually only causes complaints after blood clots clog arteries. Some symptoms are:

  • Pain, swelling and redness in the area that has blockages (usually in the legs or feet).
  • Cramps in the legs, especially in the third trimester.
  • The skin feels warm in the area of the blood clot.
  • Abdominal pain, if blockage occurs in the abdominal veins.
  • Cough, chest pain, and shortness of breath, if the blockage of the blood vessels of the lungs.

If left untreated, thick blood can increase the risk of pregnant women getting preeclampsia. In addition, disorders of blood viscosity are also at risk of causing complications in the form of:

  • Miscarriage in early pregnancy or fetal death over the age of 14 weeks
  • Placental disorders
  • Disorders of fetal growth and development
  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight

How to deal with blood viscosity disorders while pregnant

Given the thick blood during pregnancy has the potential to endanger the health of pregnant women and the fetus, the symptoms that lead to this disease need to be immediately consulted by a doctor. Examination is also highly recommended for women who experience recurrent miscarriages.

If diagnosed with thick blood during pregnancy, it is highly recommended to immediately consult a hematologist to get the right treatment according to the cause.

Your doctor may give blood thinners to prevent blood from clotting or freezing. In addition to preventing complications in pregnant women, administering these drugs can also increase the life expectancy of babies conceived, and reduce the risk of miscarriage.

However, the use of blood thinning drugs is not without risk. This drug can cause bleeding, which is characterized by nosebleeds or easy bruising. Therefore, the use of blood thinning drugs needs to be stopped when the mother is about to give birth, in order to prevent the occurrence of postpartum bleeding.

Although thick blood during pregnancy is quite rare, examination and early detection of this condition are important to do, especially in women with a history of blood viscosity and recurrent miscarriages. Proper diagnosis and early treatment can increase the chances for the fetus to grow and be born healthy.

Read Also : Foods to Avoid When Preparing for Pregnancy



1. McLean, K. & Cushman, M. (2016). Venous Thromboembolism and Stroke in Pregnancy. Hematology.

2. National Health Service UK (2017). Health A – Z. Thrombophilia.

3. Berg, T. Medscape (2017). Drugs & Diseases. Antiphospholipid Syndrome and Pregnancy. 

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Health and clinical interests include all aspects of infectious diseases

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