Pulmonary embolism is a condition in which a blood clot blocks one or more arteries in the lungs. It can occur in women who have just had a baby.
If you are a woman who has recently given birth, you may be wondering what to watch out for when it comes to your health. One thing you should be aware of is pulmonary embolism after delivery. In this blog post, we will discuss what pulmonary embolism after delivery is, how to prevent it, and what to do if you think you might have it.
What is pulmonary embolism?
Pulmonary embolism is a condition in which a blood clot blocks one or more arteries in the lungs. This can happen for a number of reasons, but it is most often seen in women who have just had a baby.
What causes pulmonary embolism?
The reason for this is that during pregnancy, the body produces more blood to support the growing baby. After delivery, this extra blood can pool in the veins of the pelvis and legs, which increases the risk of clotting.
Deep vein thrombosis in the leg or the pelvis is most likely the cause of pulmonary embolism after delivery.
Who are at risk of developing pulmonary embolism?
Pulmonary embolism can occur in any woman who has just had a baby, but some women are at higher risk. These include
- Women who have had a cesarean section
- Women who have been bedridden for more than 48 hours after delivery
- Women who have a history of blood clots.
What are the symptoms of pulmonary embolism?
The most common symptom of pulmonary embolism is shortness of breath. This can happen suddenly or come on gradually. Other symptoms may include
- Chest pain or discomfort that gets worse when you take a deep breath
- Coughing up blood
- Rapid heart rate
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Rise in temperature
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
How is pulmonary embolism diagnosed?
Pulmonary embolism is usually diagnosed with a CT scan or an MRI of the lungs. These tests can show if there is a blockage in the arteries of the lungs. A blood test may also be done to check for a clotting disorder.
Other tests include X-ray, ECG, pulmonary angiography, lung scan, and doppler ultrasound.
How is a pulmonary embolism treated?
Treatment for pulmonary embolism usually involves taking a blood thinner medication. This will help to dissolve the clot and prevent new clots from forming. You may also be given a medicine to help reduce the inflammation in your lungs. In some cases, surgery may be needed to remove the clot, such as embolectomy.
When a patient is admitted to the hospital, active treatment includes:
- Oxygen therapy
- Cardiac massage
- Blood thinners (anticoagulants) such as IV heparin bolus doses: These help to dissolve the clot and prevent new clots from forming.
2. Intravenous fluids: These help to maintain blood pressure.
3. Bed rest
4. Elevation of the legs
5. Anti-inflammatory drugs: These help reduce the inflammation in your lungs.
6. Corticosteroids: These help to reduce the inflammation and swelling in your lungs.
7. Thrombolytic therapy: This is a treatment that uses medication to break up the clot. It is usually only used in severe cases.
What are the complications of pulmonary embolism?
The most serious complication of pulmonary embolism is death. This can happen if the clot is large or blocks a major artery. Pulmonary embolism can also cause damage to the lung tissue. This can lead to difficulty breathing and other problems.
How can I prevent pulmonary embolism?
There are a few things you can do to reduce your risk of developing pulmonary embolism after delivery:
- Wear compression stockings during pregnancy and for six weeks after delivery. These stockings help to reduce the risk of blood clots by keeping the veins in your legs from pooling.
- Get up and move around as soon as possible after delivery. This will help to keep the blood flowing in your veins.
- Avoid sitting or standing for long periods.
- Drink plenty of fluids and eat a healthy diet. This will help to keep your blood from becoming too thick.
- Leg exercises, such as walking, can also help to reduce your risk of developing blood clots.
- If you have any risk factors for pulmonary embolism, your doctor may prescribe blood thinner medication during pregnancy and after delivery.
Pulmonary embolism after delivery is a serious condition, but it can be prevented. If you are at risk, be sure to talk to your doctor about ways to reduce your risk. And if you experience any of the symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.