What are Thrombophilias?

Posted On: November 7, 2017 By Simi Gupta, MD

Thrombophilias are conditions that put people at a higher risk of developing blood clots.  These blood clots can form in the veins in your legs or in your lungs.  There are two types of thrombophilias: genetic ones that you can inherit from your parents and acquired ones that can develop over your lifetime.  The inherited thrombophilias include Factor V Leiden, Prothrombin Gene Mutation, Antithrombin III Deficiency, Protein S Deficiency, and Protein C Deficiency.  The acquired thrombophilias refer to people who have developed antiphospholipid antibodies.

Thrombophilias and Pregnancy

Pregnancy and the postpartum period are a time when women are at an increased risk of developing blood clots.  The combination of pregnancy and some types of thrombophilias can put women at an even higher risk of developing blood clots in their legs and lungs.  The acquired thrombophilias can also put women at a higher risk of pregnancy problems such as miscarriage, a special kind of high blood pressure called pre-eclampsia, and fetal growth restriction.

How do I know if I have a thrombophilia?

Thrombophilias can be tested for through blood work.  Women who have a history of blood clots or who have a family member who has a thrombophilia or developed blood clots at a young age can be tested for the inherited thrombophilias.  These women and women who have had a prior pregnancy problem such as recurrent miscarriage, stillbirth, or pre-eclampsia early in pregnancy can be tested for the acquired thrombophilias.

Treatment in Pregnancy

An OB/GYN or Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist can help decide if you need treatment during pregnancy based on a combination of the type of thrombophilia you have and your medical and obstetric history.  This treatment may include close monitoring, aspirin, or a blood thinner called heparin.  We can also decide if you need extra monitoring of your baby through ultrasounds to evaluate the growth of the baby or the well-being of your baby.  Contact us today for more information!

Carnegie Imaging for Women blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!

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