What is the risk of thromboembolic disease during pregnancy?

Updated: Sep 18, 2020
  • Author: Daniel R Ouellette, MD, FCCP; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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A population-based study covering the years 1966-1995 collated the cases of DVT or pulmonary embolism in women during pregnancy or postpartum. The relative risk was 4.29, and the overall incidence of venous thromboembolism (absolute risk) was 199.7 incidents per 100,000 woman-years. Among postpartum women, the annual incidence was 5 times higher than in pregnant women (511.2 vs 95.8 incidents per 100,000 women, respectively).

The incidence of DVT was 3 times higher than that of pulmonary embolism (151.8 vs 47.9 incidents, respectively, per 100,000 women). Pulmonary embolism was relatively less common during pregnancy than in the postpartum period (10.6 vs 159.7 incidents, respectively, per 100,000 women, respectively). [24] A national review of severe obstetric complications from 1998-2005 found a significant increase in the rate of pulmonary embolism associated with the increasing rate of cesarean delivery. [34]

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