Low Platelets During Labor

Submitted by Nic on January 19, 2012

Platelets are naturally occurring elements in the blood serum. These non-nucleated cells are synthesized in the bone marrow. These cells remain in the blood serum for about 10 days, after which they die and are disintegrated and discharged as waste from the body. Platelets are an essential part of the blood chemistry. They are extremely important for the initiation as well as the maintenance of the healthy clotting system in the body. In a non-pregnant woman, the platelet count is about 150000 to 400000/mcL.


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A woman, who has a platelet count within this range, is usually completely healthy. There are however, women, who have platelet count that is lower than the normal range. This is not a healthy sign, especially when a woman is pregnant.

Low platelets during labor can be attributed to the acceleration in the process of destruction of the platelets. There are a lot of disorders in which the platelets produced in the woman’s body are younger and larger. This causes the system to produce platelets in smaller quantities. Also, the volume of blood during pregnancy increases almost twice, which may cause a dilution of the platelets and decrease platelet count during pregnancy. Read more on low platelets in pregnancy as well.

Low platelet count during labor can be very serious. In case a woman requires a C section, low platelet count may cause prolonged bleeding. In such a case, the doctor has to offer increased attention as well as blood transfusions to the woman in labor. If a woman’s platelet count is less than 99000/mcL, the condition is known as mild thrombocytopenia or gestational thrombocytopenia. This condition is rather common in pregnant women. However, in case a woman has a platelet count which is less than this, it can cause complications in the pregnancy. In almost 5% full-term pregnancies, gestational thrombocytopenia occurs.

Severe thrombocytopenia during labor can be very dangerous, and low platelets during labor and in pregnancy should be treated adequately. There is no specific treatment that is required in this case except for blood transfusions that are given when there is excessive bleeding or when a C-section has to be performed. Medications may be given to bring about normal platelet count during pregnancy.

Low hemoglobin during labor can also be dangerous, but the treatment is usually given after the woman has given birth. In case there is both low hemoglobin and low platelet count in a pregnant woman, blood transfusions may be given before performing the delivery.

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