The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is changing their standard procedure regarding post Cesarean section care in an effort to prevent new moms from suffering, and possibly dying, from deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
The new guidelines, published in the September issue of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, call for compression devices to be used following surgery as part of regular post cesarean surgical care.
Used for years after hip replacements and other major surgeries, compression devices have not been a standard rule in C-sections. However, some hospitals have already opted to use them for post C-section care on their own. Up until now, it has not been routine.
According to CBS News, the association also feels the new guidelines will help promote awareness to new moms once they leave the hospital since blood clots can masquerade as innocent leg pain. In the first weeks home with a new baby, many moms already feel battered and exhausted from the birth so might overlook the pain, which can be deadly. This particular kind of clot typically starts in the leg or groin. If it moves up to the lungs, it becomes a pulmonary embolism, and can cause death.
While death from C-section is low, the deaths that do occur often happen due to DVT. Now hospitals are being urged to utilize the compression devices, which cause no discomfort to the woman. They are simply compression belts that inflate and deflate to get the blood moving in the legs while the woman is in laying down. Once she is moving around again, she doesn’t need to wear them, but once back in bed, they will be placed back on.
Another benefit from the change is in heightened awareness:
The new guidelines urge obstetricians to closely monitor their patients for DVTs — and to check if they have additional factors that would put them at extra risk. Women who’ve had a DVT earlier in life, or whose close relatives had one — or who have certain inherited clotting disorders — may need anti-clotting medicines throughout the pregnancy.
C-sections account for nearly one third of all hospital births and are typical a very safe surgical procedure. For most women, it is common sense to move around as soon as possible after surgery and not remain all day in bed. But for those who don’t realize that staying still for longs periods of time might promote blood clots after surgery, the new guidelines will get moms paying close attention to the risk. It will also make all hospitals to put these guidelines into practice, rather than just the more affluent hospitals.
Were you offered compression devices after a C-section? Were you encouraged to get up and walk around soon after surgery?
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