Definition - What does Thrombophilia mean?

Thrombophilia is a condition that increases the chance of blood clots. A woman with thrombophilia may struggle to become pregnant or carry a pregnancy to term. Thrombophilias may also cause complications for pregnant women, as a blood clot can be fatal to both the mother and unborn child.

FertilitySmarts explains Thrombophilia

A thrombosis, also known as a blood clot, is the mass that forms when blood turns from fluid to solid. This is how the body heels after an injury such as a cut. However, thrombophilia is the case of too much clotting, which may occur when it is not needed, blocking the body’s normal blood flow. Most people with thrombophilia are not aware they have the condition, as it often presents no symptoms. A blood test is able to diagnose whether or not the condition is present.

Thrombophilia is a known cause of recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL), implantation failure, implantation failure following IVF, and unexplained infertility. Because many women are unaware they suffer from the thrombophilia, the inability to become pregnant or carry a pregnancy to term may be the first indication the condition is present. As a result, a series of tests called "markers" have been developed. Women who experience the aforementioned conditions can be tested for these markers, which may indicate the presence of a blood clotting disorder.

For pregnant women, thrombophilia is dangerous as it may lead to venous thromboembolism (VTE), the presence of clots in the veins. VTE involves two life-threatening complications:

  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a clot deep within a vein, typically found in the leg.
  • Pulmonary embolism (PE), a clot that leaves the vein and travels throughout the body.

Treatment of thrombophilia depends on family history, type of thrombophilia, and personal history of past clots. However, standard treatment for pregnant women with clotting disorders and thrombophilia includes taking blood thinner medication, called anticoagulant therapy.

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