Merck Manual

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Quick Facts

Postpartum Blood Clots

By

The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Sep 2020| Content last modified Sep 2020
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Post means "after," and partum means "pregnancy," so postpartum refers to the time period after you have a baby. It's usually considered the first 6 weeks.

A blood clot (called a thrombus) sometimes forms inside a blood vessel. A clot inside a large vein is called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Usually the vein is deep in your leg or your pelvic area.

  • You have an increased risk of getting a blood clot in your veins for 6 or 8 weeks after giving birth

  • Blood clots may have no symptoms or your leg may hurt and swell

  • Blood clots can break loose and travel to your lung (pulmonary embolism), which causes breathing problems and may lead to death

  • Doctors do ultrasound to see if you have a DVT

  • Doctors treat DVT with medicine to thin your blood

What are the symptoms of a postpartum blood clot?

You may have no symptoms or you may have:

  • Pain, tenderness, warmth, and swelling in your leg

  • Sometimes a fever

A pulmonary embolism may cause chest pain or make you feel short of breath.

How can doctors tell if I have a postpartum blood clot?

Doctors can find blood clots using:

To find a pulmonary embolism they may do:

How do doctors treat a postpartum blood clot?

Doctors treat a deep venous blood clot using:

  • Medicine to thin your blood to prevent more clotting

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: Click here for the Professional Version
Click here for the Professional Version
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