words, people with either an inherited (genetic) or acquired condition (disease) resulting in an increased risk of developing a blood clot. In pregnancy, it has been linked to recurrent pregnancy loss, late miscarriages, stillbirth, fetal growth restriction, and preeclampsia. There are many factors involved and large amounts of information about thrombophilia in pregnancy. For this reason, it is important to seek out the care of a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist when dealing with it.
There are two main types of thrombophilia, including the type that you are born with called genetic thrombophilia, and the type you can acquire, which is actually an autoimmune condition. In this section, we will discuss acquired thrombophilia and testing.
Acquired thrombophilia is more common than the genetic form, and can be caused by many factors, including your lifestyle, diseases, and medicines. The most common type of acquired thrombophilia is antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, which is also the most aggressive type of thrombophilia.
Those with acquired thrombophilia have a stronger association with birth complications, so many specialists will start off by just testing you for acquired conditions. However, we will also test women who have unexplained blood clots or a history of obstetrical problems, which may put them at risk of developing another clot during pregnancy.
Many people do not know they have thrombophilia until they develop an abnormal blood clot, especially in an unusual part of the body. If you have an autoimmune condition such as lupus, you may also be more likely to have acquired thrombophilia. Other factors include older age, obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, hormone replacement therapy, and birth control pills.
In healthy people, the body will naturally cause the blood to clot when you sustain an injury that makes you bleed. In those with clotting disorders, their body either does not clot or clots too much, which can lead to blood clotting issues. When you add pregnancy into this mix, it can become more complicated.
Dr. Rebarber, an MFM specialist and expert in the field, explained that today many different providers are testing for thrombophilia and blood clotting disorders in pregnant women when it is not always necessary. In some situations, the treatment may be worse than the condition. “The testing is being done so much by so many people because there are so many myths and misconceptions about it,” he said. “It’s not explained to people that they have a genetic predisposition; it is explained as a genetic disorder which it isn’t. And it may or may not manifest at all throughout your whole lifetime. That’s the problem.”
This form of testing has become so common now that doctors often run a thrombophilia panel. When people come to see us at MFM, we take the time to look into the reason why you were tested for this condition in the first place, whether it was because of your family history, your personal history, or your obstetrical history. This information guides our team on how to create your personal treatment plan for the best possible outcomes.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialists at MFM Associates, contact our office today. We will work with you to provide the necessary testing and treatment to ensure the health of you and your baby.
Maternal Fetal Medicine blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!