Pregnancy is a hypercoagulable state that increases the risk of thromboembolic events. These risks may be further increased in the presence of an acquired or inherited thrombophilia. Thrombophilias have been associated with both maternal and fetal complications. The use of anticoagulants during pregnancy may reduce the risk of maternal thromboses as well as the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes. The choice of an anticoagulant requires consideration of maternal risks, potential for teratogenicity, the underlying condition necessitating the treatment, and cost. This review examines the options for anticoagulation, the clinical situations that may warrant such treatment, and factors to be considered at delivery and during the postpartum period.
Target audience: Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Family Physicians.
Learning objectives: After completion of this article, the reader should be able to describe the roles of acquired and inherited thrombophilia in furthering the hypercoagulable state of pregnancy, identify the potential consequences of using anticoagulants during pregnancy, and summarize the treatment options when anticoagulation is required during pregnancy.