Becoming pregnant is one of the most exciting and terrifying times in a woman’s life. It is truly a miracle, and a life changing experience, but there are a lot of health risks that go with it. When you become pregnant, there are many things you should do to stay in tip-top shape to protect both you and your baby. A common thing that happens among pregnant women is a drop in the number of platelets in the bloodstream. This can lead to unwanted bleeding and certain pain throughout the pregnancy. The good news is there are plenty of ways to increase your platelet count during pregnancy.
What are Platelets?
In order to fully understand why you need to increase your platelet count during pregnancy, you have to understand what they are in the first place. Platelets are small cellular bodies that are circular shaped and flow through the bloodstream. Their primary function is to heal open, bleeding wounds, to form blood clots in the body, and other processes around the body. For example, if you cut yourself by an accident, this alerts the platelets and they race to the injury to create a clot to stop the bleeding. Platelets are extraordinary and when they get close to the injured area, they change shape from circles to long tentacles like octopuses. This is why in just a matter of minutes the bleeding will stop, and slowly the wound will heal over time.
Thrombocytopenia is the condition a lot of people have which means that they have low levels of platelets in the blood. This can either be very mild or very severe, depending on the cause. It is common among pregnant women, due to the extreme changes in hormones and in the body, to develop thrombocytopenia. This can cause bleeding side effects and can also lead to a lot more complications later in the pregnancy. This is why it is so important to find out how you can increase the platelet count.
Steps You Can Take
The very first thing you should always do, especially during a pregnancy, is consult a doctor. This is one of the most important things to lead to raising your platelet count or even finding out you have a low count in the first place. Usually when you are pregnant, you will go to routine checkups with the doctor. We recommend simply asking them to check your platelet count just to see how it’s doing. This is going to be an accurate way of diagnosing whether you need to raise it and the doctor can decide on a treatment plan before you start taking any action on your own. This is so important as every patient it is different, and depending on your platelet levels, how far you are along, and your dietary restrictions, certain avenues will change. So, always go to the doctor first and follow their instructions.
Since you know you may suffer a low platelet count during your pregnancy, it is good for you to keep an eye out for symptoms so that you can alert the doctor right away. A normal range of platelets in the bloodstream are anywhere between 150,000 to 450,000 per microliter; anything lower than that can create problems. Platelets are the leading creator of blood clots in the body, and if you are having trouble controlling bleeding, you may have a low count. Symptoms can include prolonged bleeding after a minor cut that just won’t stop, nosebleeds, the gums are bleeding, heavy menstrual bleeding, blood in your urine, or small bruises around the body.
Related: Do Platelet Counts Fluctuate?
Cases of thrombocytopenia vary among pregnant women because if you did not suffer from it before, it will probably be quite mild during your pregnancy. However, this condition can be genetic, or it could be a side effect of complications in your spleen. I you had a mild case before, pregnancy may heighten it. It is crucial that you take the time to look for signs, so you can get the proper treatment right away.
Another thing to watch for are the medications you are taking while pregnant. There are some, such as heparin, or any other blood thinning drugs, that have a direct effect on your platelet count. You can simply increase your count by getting off of these drugs and stopping the depletion of your platelets.
One way that you can increase your platelet count during pregnancy is to be put on certain medications prescribed by your doctor. There are medicines such as eltrombopag and romiplostim that directly increase the platelet count. They are either taken in pill form or by injection. Raise these names with your doctor and they will tell you if they are right for you if your platelet count needs raising.
In other cases, people use steroids to raise the platelet count in the body, but we do not recommend it during pregnancy due to the complications and side effects that can arise through the injection of them. So, if someone suggests an injection of steroids, simply stay away.
In severe cases, a platelet transfusion can be prescribed to increase the platelet count during your pregnancy. This is where donor platelets are directly injected into your body. It is not a comfortable procedure and again it could not be the best for you depending on the stage you are at in your pregnancy.
Always remember that you have a growing baby inside of you during all of this. Whatever you do to your body, or put in your body, it is going to have a direct effect on your baby so that is why you need to take extra care in choosing how to raise your platelet count. If you just have a mild case, eating papaya fruit is known to raise platelet levels, and that can be done without any surgery or injections of any kind.