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Risk of Blood Clot Increases in Pregnancy; Higher with IVF, Study Says
January 17, 2013
Despite only a slightly increased risk as compared to unassisted pregnancies, women pregnant through in vitro fertilization (IVF) must be aware of the risks of pulmonary embolism (PE; blockage of lung artery) and venous thromboembolism (VTE; blood clot), study warns.
Published in the British Medical Journal, the study says IVF moms are at greater risk of developing a blood clots and blockage of the lung’s main artery during the first trimester.
In general, a woman’s risk of blood clot during pregnancy and within 3 months after child birth is four times greater than the average woman- even in unassisted pregnancies. IVF pregnancies have been found to have slightly higher incidence of blood clots, though the absolute risk of lung artery blockage is not certain.
Researchers out of the Karolinska institute in Sweden analyzed data on over 23,000 IVF pregnancies and more than 115,000 unassisted pregnancies. On average, participants were 33 years of age and gave birth between 1990 and 2008. The IVF group experienced blood clots at a rate of 4.2 cases for every 1,000 women versus 2.5 cases for every 1,000 women. During the first trimester, the risk of developing a blood clot increased 1.5 times in the IVF group versus 0.3 times in the unassisted group. The risk of blood clot before and after pregnancy was the same between each group.
In this study, lung artery blockage was discovered in 0.08% of the IVF pregnancy group and 0.05% of the unassisted pregnancy group. The IVF group’s risk was higher throughout the pregnancy, but in particular, a greater number of lung artery blockage reports were recorded during the first trimester.
Pulmonary embolism is the most prevalent cause of maternal death, thus it is a significant concern within the medical community. IVF patients should be educated of the risks and warning signs.