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Postpartum Blood Clots
The risk of developing blood clots (thrombophlebitis) is increased after delivery. Typically, blood clots occur in the legs or pelvis (a disorder called deep vein thrombosis—see Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)). Sometimes one of these clots breaks loose and travels through the bloodstream into the lungs, where it lodges in a blood vessel in the lung, blocking blood flow. This blockage is called pulmonary embolism (see Pulmonary Embolism (PE)).
Treatment of a superficial blood clot in the leg consists of warm compresses (to reduce discomfort), compression bandages applied by a doctor or nurse, and bed rest with the leg elevated (by raising the foot of the bed 6 inches). Women with deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism need to take drugs that make blood less likely to clot (anticoagulants).
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