Study Raises Concern over Prolonged Risk of Blood Clots Post-Pregnancy

Holy Hormones Journal – Well there I was sipping my cup of coffee this morning, watching the morning shows to see what the pregnantlatest messages are being thrown at women – and the ticker at the bottom of the Good Morning America show scrolled this title across the screen. Note to self: finish your coffee and check out the study.

Found the article in Time Magazine, below – then clicked the hyperlink to the study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Pregnancy significantly increases the risk of thrombosis. This heightened thrombotic risk rises further during the postpartum period, which is conventionally defined as the 6 weeks after delivery.1 As compared with the nonpregnant state, the 6-week postpartum period is associated with increases by a factor of 3 to 9 in the risk of stroke, by a factor of 3 to 6 in the risk of myocardial infarction, and by a factor of 9 to 22 in the risk of venous thromboembolism.2-8 It is unknown whether these risks remain increased after the conventionally defined 6-week postpartum period. Guidelines for the treatment of thrombotic disorders during pregnancy advise the discontinuation of prophylactic therapy at 6 weeks after delivery in women at high risk for venous thromboembolism.1 However, previous studies and isolated case reports have suggested that an increased thrombotic risk may persist beyond 6 weeks after delivery.5,8-10 Therefore, more data are needed to rigorously assess the risk after the 6-week postpartum period. We designed this study to assess the duration of an increased postpartum thrombotic risk in a large population-based cohort of women.

There is a growing trend to put women on synthetic hormone birth control – pills, patches, shots, IUD’s and injections right after a woman has a baby. All of these methods of birth control raise the risk of blood clots and strokes not only for women who are post-pregnant – but women across the board.  There is also a major trend to put women on anti-depressants before, during and post-pregnancy. Anti-depressants raise the risk of blood clots.

So the question is: Did the data did not take into consideration a study group of women on synthetic hormones and anti-depressants vs. a control group not on any of the above? What about a woman’s birth control and medication history pre-pregnancy? And finally is the media skewing the study’s message – inferring that all women are at risk post-pregnancy or just women predisposed to thrombotic events?

I have emailed the author of the study posing these questions -hoping they are valid. Will let you know his response.

Increased Risk of Blood Clots Lasts 12 Weeks After Pregnancy, Not Just Six

New research shows that women are at risk of stroke or heart attack after giving birth for longer than doctors originally thought

Time Health and Family
February 13, 2014

Women have a heightened risk of blood clots for 12 weeks following birth, twice as long as doctors originally believed, according to new research. Blood clots can cause problems such as stroke or heart attack.

The head of the study, Dr. Hooman Kamel, presented the new research, published online in the New England Journal of Medicine, on Thursday at the American Heart Association stroke conference. Women are more prone to blood clots after giving birth because blood components increase during labor to prevent too much bleeding. As a result, blood from the legs has more trouble traveling to the heart. If clots in the legs travel to the lungs, they can be fatal. Strokes are rare after pregnancy, but result in death about 10% of the time.


Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.