Clexane (Blood Thinners) During Pregnancy
Why Did My Doctor Give Me Blood Thinners When Pregnant
Expecting a baby is a wonderful thing but there can be complications for Mum and baby during the pregnancy. When you become pregnant there is an increased chance of getting a deep vein thrombosis or clotting problem due to the changes in hormones. This happens because the body has an increased estrogen level so make the blood thicker so that you clot much more easily; this is the bodies natural way of protecting you and the baby from hemorrhaging during the delivery.
The risk of getting a deep vein thrombosis is increased because during pregnancy because blood volume is reduced in Mum's extremities; basically it means that the blood flow becomes sluggish in the legs and arms causing heaviness and coldness. Combine that with more rest and you have a blood clot waiting to happen. A common side effect of that is swelling in the legs which is treated with compression stockings to help get the blood back to the heart.
Clexane - or other blood thinners - is given during pregnancy because of this sluggish blood flow. It gets sluggish closer to the due date and up to six weeks after the delivery as the body readjusts. The main reason for using Clexane is because it thins the blood slightly, reduces platelet count thereby reducing your risk of clotting.
Other risks that are considered during your pregnancy include:
- A mother over the age of 35
- An overweight mother
- A caesarean carried out during labour
- Immobility for several days prior to delivery, and
- Medical conditions such as infection or paraplegia
Each of these other risks can be a reason why a mother needs Clexane injections or other types of blood thinners.
What Is Clexane?
Clexane is a low-weight molecular form of heparin that is designed to thin your blood by reducing your platelet count (the parts that clot). By reducing your platelet your body becomes less efficient at clotting and because there are fewer platelets the blood becomes thinner making it a bit easier to move around the body. If there is a current clot in a blood vessel having thinner blood reduces the risk of that clot getting bigger anyway.
By using Clexane there is no risk to the baby as very little passes through to the placenta. After your delivery you will most likely be back on Clexane for another 6 weeks or so and it is safe to breastfeed straight away.
When Is Clexane Given?
Clexane is given at varying times during the pregnancy as it is very much dependent and the health of Mummy and baby. As soon as you know you are pregnant your doctor will run a series of tests and will then discuss with you if Clexane is appropriate if you meet some of the risks discussed above (obesity, pre-existing conditions etc.)
Clexane may be given during the very early stages of pregnancy if your risk factors are high or it may be given later as you near your due date. You will be closely monitored during your pregnancy to make sure that your baby is developing well and that you are healthy too; if the risk increases then it is probably time to switch over to Clexane.
For delivery you normally don't take the morning injection of your due date because if you need to have an epidural or c-section these can't be done until 12 hours after your last injection.
Depending on your circumstances you will be put on Clexane for 1-6 weeks to prevent clotting as your body readjusts itself to not being pregnant.
How To Take Clexane
Taking Clexane is a fairly easy procedure, however, for those who have never had to inject themselves before it can be a really tough thing to do. I remember having to do my first injection by myself, although I had been taught how to do it and had someone else do the injections for me I was still sat there for about half an hour staring at this needle I had to stick in my tummy. I'm not the best person with needles but once I had got over the shock of doing the first one they became relatively easy to do.
You need to make sure that you've washed your hands and that the area you want is clean and not bruised, cut or damaged in any way. When you have opened the packaging and removed the cap simply pinch a nice bit of fat from your tummy and push the needle in (imagine a hot knife slicing through butter). Once the needle is fully in slowly press down the plunger, don't worry about the bubble, it needs to go in too. Depending on the style of needle once the plunger is fully down you may have an automatic safeguard go down that seals away the needle or you may need to remove the needle yourself and replace the cap. Either way, once the needle is out pop it in your sharps box and keep away from children.
It seems easy enough to read but you will be nervous with your very first one. Just remember to breathe through it and you will be fine.
Video Instructions For Clexane
Have you had to use Clexane while pregnant?
Side Effects of Clexane
Since you are going to be injecting yourself in your tummy you can expect a couple of side effects with this medication. Rest assured it is perfectly safe for your baby but there are some that you may experience.
The most common side effect you will experience is bruising and hematoma (a lump from swelling). These are easily taken care of though, especially if you change your injection site every time. You can see a picture of one of my hematoma on the right.
You may also experience a little bleeding, especially if you are still getting your periods during the early stages of pregnancy - Clexane has a tendency to make periods heavier.
Hair loss is also a side effect that I have experienced but it is not that common, just make sure that you look after your hair and you'll be ok.
If you're not feeling right on your medication you must see your health care provider to rule out any possible causes. It's better for the problem to be temporary from the Clexane that a new complication that you need to worry about.
I AM NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL AND THIS HUB IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.