Postpartum thrombosis

What is postpartum thrombosis?

Postpartum thrombosis is a type of a blood clot that can occur in the first few weeks after childbirth. It can happen in both women who have had a vaginal birth or a caesarean section. These clots are most commonly found in the veins of the legs, although they can form in other areas of the body. Postpartum thrombosis can be a very serious and life-threatening condition if left untreated.

Signs and Symptoms

The most common symptom of postpartum thrombosis is a painful swelling in the leg, usually below the knee. This swelling may be accompanied by redness and warmth. Other symptoms may include fever, shortness of breath, chest pain, or difficulty walking. It is important to seek medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms.

Causes & Risk Factors

Postpartum thrombosis is most commonly caused by an interruption in the natural circulation of the blood due to hormonal shifts that occur after childbirth. Certain risk factors increase a woman’s likelihood of developing this condition. These include obesity, over the age of 35, smoking, a family history of blood clots, and prolonged bed rest after giving birth.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Postpartum thrombosis is usually diagnosed with a physical exam and tests such as an ultrasound, blood tests, or a computed tomography (CT) scan. Treatment for postpartum thrombosis usually involves blood thinners, such as heparin, to help prevent further clots from forming and to break up existing clots. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the clot.


There are some steps women can take to reduce their risk of postpartum thrombosis. These include:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Get plenty of physical activity.
  • Get regular check-ups to check for risk factors.
  • If possible, avoid prolonged bed rest after delivery.

It is important to talk to your doctor about your risks for postpartum thrombosis and what you can do to reduce them. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential in order to reduce the risk of serious complications.