The 3 main categories of haematological disorders in pregnancy are women with a previous blood clot (or a strong family history of blood clots), women with a known bleeding tendency (such as von Willebrand’s disease or haemophilia) and women with a low platelet count.
During pregnancy, a woman’s blood clotting changes so that her blood becomes more prone to clotting. A proportion of adult women carry a genetic tendency towards clotting (called a thrombophilia), of which there are several different types. If a woman with a thrombophilia becomes pregnant, she is at especially high risk of a blood clot and the role of blood “thinning” medication (aspirin or heparin) should be considered.
At the other end of the spectrum, and less commonly seen, are women who are prone to bleeding heavily. Such women may have a history of heavy periods, easy bruising or haemorrhage after dental procedures. They may also have a family member with a similar problem. This bleeding disorder may be due to an inherited condition or low platelets. If the condition is inherited, there may be a risk that your baby will also be affected and you should discuss this with your SHORE FOR WOMEN maternal-fetal medicine specialist.
Yes, we have cared for hundreds of women with thrombophilias, previous thromboembolism (clot), bleeding disorders and low platelets. While working in Ireland, Dr. Colin Walsh helped to run a weekly joint obstetric / haematology antenatal clinic for women with precisely this type of problem.