Thrombophilia

Our approach

The Northwell Health Center for Thrombophilia and Adverse Outcomes in Pregnancy specializes in screening for thrombophilia, so the condition can be detected and treated early.

Our multidisciplinary teams collaborate with your obstetrician/gynecologist to create a coordinated, comprehensive treatment plan focused on treating both the physical and emotional aspects of thrombophilia in pregnancy. We will examine every aspect of your condition to make sure your risk of pregnancy complications is as minimal as possible.

Overview

Thrombophilia refers to an inherited or acquired predisposition to develop blood clots, which can interfere with the body’s ability to maintain a healthy pregnancy. While blood is supposed to naturally clot to stop bleeding in the event of an injury, abnormal clots within veins or arteries can dangerously affect blood flow. Pregnancy can increase your risk of developing these internal blood clots.

Because thrombophilia is a group of conditions, some are more high-risk than others. Your specialist will assess the severity of your condition and likelihood of developing a blood clot to create a tailored treatment plan.

Thrombophilia has been linked to many adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as miscarriage and various pregnancy complications, including poor fetal growth, placental abruption, preeclampsia and stillbirth. Though it is a serious condition, thrombophilia can be treated with medication and careful observation. 

Causes and risks

Blood clotting is balanced by chemicals that work together to create a blood clot and chemicals that prevent blood from clotting too much. Thrombophilia causes an imbalance in the chemicals in your blood, preventing the chemicals that dissolve blood clots from doing their job.

Thrombophilia can be either inherited genetically or acquired in adulthood. Adults who are immobile, pregnant, obese, or have a chronic condition, like diabetes, may be more at risk of developing blood clots.

Symptoms

There are no symptoms associated with thrombophilia, but there are symptoms associated with the blood clots it can cause. Tell your doctor immediately if you experience any of the symptoms below, as they can be a sign of blood clots caused by thrombophilia:

  • Swelling, pain or redness in your arms or leg
  • Chest pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Coughing, especially coughs producing blood
  • Issues with vision or speech
  • Adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as recurrent pregnancy losses or preterm delivery

Diagnosis and testing

Thrombophilia is diagnosed with several blood tests to examine the clotting process along with your family history. If your results suggest you have thrombophilia, your physician may recommend that you see a specialist for a detailed diagnosis and care plan.

Treatment options

Some low risk cases of thrombophilia may not require any treatment. However, if your specialist believes you are at a high risk of developing a blood clot, you may need to take blood thinners to reduce your blood’s tendency to clot. If you are pregnant or want to become pregnant, certain blood thinners are safe to take during pregnancy.

Our experts may also recommend that you adjust your lifestyle. Diet and exercise, along with tobacco cessation are common lifestyle changes that can reduce your risk of developing blood clots.