As a childbirth educator, it is my hope that all women have positive birth experiences. So when I read headlines like “My Pregnancy Nightmare”, my radar goes off well and truly!
Fellow Mum’s Lounge contributor, Mama Stylista certainly had a traumatic – and in my opinion – thoroughly unavoidable experience. What she encountered was classic medical negligence which could have had fatal and tragic consequences, were it not for her and her husband’s insistence that she go to hospital for further examination, where thankfully they identified the clot and finally diagnosed her with Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
Pregnant women are more susceptible than non-pregnant women to forming blood clots in their veins (venous thrombosis). When these clots occur in the deep leg veins, the clot can break up and fragments (emboli) move to the lungs where they may block the blood flow to the lungs (pulmonary embolism). This can have serious and sometimes fatal consequences. Symptoms of pulmonary embolism include sudden shortness of breath, chest pain and rapid heart rate. Your chances of developing venous thromboembolism (VTE) increase if you are over the age of 30, you or your family have a history of blood clots, or you have recently been on bed rest or been sitting for a very long time (a long haul plane flight, for example).
Deep Vein Thrombosis causes leg or pelvic pain and redness, warmth, or swelling near the affected area. If you have DVT in your calf, you may have increased calf pain when you flex your toes toward your knee.
If you notice symptoms of DVT during pregnancy or after the birth, notify your caregiver immediately. If they try to convince you to stay home (like Mama Stylista’s negligent – and let’s be honest, idiotic – caregivers) then IGNORE THEM and go to hospital anyway. Insist on being thoroughly examined and do not agree to leave until you are completely satisfied that the diagnosis of DVT has been ruled out.
Anticoagulant medication is used to treat clots and is given to pregnant women with increased susceptibility to clotting. These medications thin the blood to reduce the risk of the further thrombosis and reduce the risk of pulmonary embolism.
Thankfully, Mama Stylista and her son are okay, but hopefully this is an important lesson for all pregnant women. If you suspect something is not right, even if all you are going off is your pure gut instinct, you are probably right. No one knows you and your body (and your baby for that matter) better than you. Don’t be afraid to be “difficult” and insist that you receive a thorough examination if you feel that something is wrong with you or your baby.
Tanya Strusberg is the only Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE) in Australia and teaches prenatal education to pregnant women and their partners in Melbourne.
She and her husband Doron have two beautiful children, Liev and Amalia.
To learn more visit www.birthwellbirthright.com