Phlebitis in pregnancy is a common problem. In many cases there are alterations in the veins in women who are between 20 and 25 years old, without being pregnant. But since there are not always visible symptoms, it is sometimes detected during pregnancy.
The point is that this condition can lead to serious consequences. Phlebitis in pregnancy must be treated in time to avoid complications, such as thrombosis or even pulmonary embolism.
What is Phlebitis?
Phlebitis is inflammation of the veins. Or more precisely, from the walls of a vein.
Sometimes this is associated with the formation of a clot in the same area. In such cases, we speak of thrombophlebitis.
The most common is that this problem occurs in the legs, as circulation is carried from the feet to the heart. Prolonged immobility is also a trigger.
The main risk factors for developing this disease are pregnancy, old age, use of contraceptives and being overweight. The greatest risk is that a thrombus will form and this gives rise to a pulmonary embolism.
Phlebitis in pregnancy
Phlebitis in pregnancy is common, why pregnancy itself induces increased coagulability in the blood. Likewise, the pregnant woman’s body produces more platelets. This leads to an increased risk of blood clots.
On the other hand, the enlargement of the uterus is a factor that compresses the venous return and hinders normal circulation. The risk of phlebitis in pregnancy is higher in mothers who need to rest.
The disturbance can be of 2 types:
- Superficial: if it happens just under the skin. It is rarely dangerous.
- deep: if it occurs in deeper and larger diameter veins. This is considered a medical emergency due to the danger it poses. It is also known as Deep vein thrombosis.
Symptoms of phlebitis in pregnancy vary depending on whether the condition is superficial or deep. In the case of superficial phlebitis, the main signs are as follows:
- Increased volume of the vein, detectable on palpation.
- Skin redness (erythema).
- Pain and heat in the area.
If phlebitis in pregnancy is deep, the symptoms are as follows:
- Pale or cyanotic (bluish) skin in the affected area.
- Swelling in the leg (oedema).
- dull ache
Many times, phlebitis in pregnancy causes no symptoms. Likewise, their intensity does not always allow us to predict the outcome of the situation.
Treatment of phlebitis in pregnancy
The central goal of treatment for phlebitis in pregnancy is dissolve the clot that has formed and prevent new ones from forming. Typically, low molecular weight heparin (HPBM) is injected. Other medications, such as warfarin, should be avoided in pregnant women.
If the phlebitis is superficial, a daily injection of HPBM for 6 weeks is usually indicated. If it is deep, treatment extends up to 12 weeks or more.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, are contraindicated. They generate a risk of haemorrhage or malformations in the fetus.
More ultrasounds are indicated. Doppler control. They are almost always performed every 15 days to monitor the evolution. Also, the doctor prescribes type 3 compression stockings.
If new clots appear after applying these measures, surgery will be necessary. It consists of placing a filter in the inferior vena cava, beyond the renal vessels. The measure prevents clots from reaching vital organs.
Hints and tips to follow
There are some simple steps that help prevent phlebitis in pregnancy. The first is stay active during pregnancy.
Other suitable measures are as follows:
- Do not wear flat or high-heeled shoes. It is recommended that shoes have a 4cm heel, to promote circulation in the calf.
- sleep on the left side. This helps decompress the inferior vena cava, which affects all the veins in the pelvis and legs.
- Wear compression socks on long trips. Also get up every 2 hours to activate circulation.
Phlebitis in pregnancy should not be considered overcome at the time of delivery. In fact, most thrombi develop after delivery and the risk is highest at 6 weeks.
If a pregnant woman experiences cramp-like pain in her leg and it doesn’t go away, especially if there is redness, inflammation, or warmth, seek immediate medical attention. Phlebitis in pregnancy is a serious condition.
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