Low Platelets in Pregnancy

Low platelets during pregnancy are a common thing. The standard platelet count is between 150 to 400 million per milliliter of blood. However, this count may vary from person to person. You are said to have a low platelet count during pregnancy when the count goes below the prescribed standard.

Low Blood Platelet Count During Pregnancy Causes

While you are pregnant, your body produces more plasma in blood. This is the liquid part of your blood. However, the platelet count stays the same resulting in low platelet count during pregnancy as they are diluted.


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A low platelet count during pregnancy is definitely a cause of concern as it may be because of a severe health problem called as HELLP. This syndrome is a complication of preeclampsia, abnormal medication, and lupus that may further lead to the count of platelets dropping drastically.

The question that you must be having in your mind is how you will know that you have a low platelet count. Well, here are some things that you need to look out for to determine this condition:

  • Bruising easily
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Slow or no blood clotting

Besides these, low platelet count can lead to broken blood veins or leaks in the nerves. This condition is called as Petechiae, wherein small red dots appear on your skin. A very severe case of low platelet count can lead to blood blisters and blood in the urine and stool.

Pregnant Low Red Platelet Count Diagnosis

This condition can be diagnosed by a simple blood test. However, additional tests may be done by your doctor to see the level in the coming months.

Low Platelet Count During Pregnancy Treatment

If you have a low platelet count during pregnancy, it is important to do the needful and get it to the right level before it is too late. Follow a healthy and balanced diet that will fulfill this requirement. Drink plenty of fluids and make sure your diet includes lot of proteins, vitamins, and lot of fruits and vegetables which will not only increase the platelet count but also boost your immune system. For severe cases, doctors may advise you to have a blood transfusion done in order to bring the platelet count to the desired level. Make sure there is no bleeding and alert your doctor if you suspect anything of this kind. Also, make sure you plan your delivery method accordingly.

Pregnancy is usually a time filled with hope and joy for women as they look forward to adding a new member to their family. The fact that they have to go through quite bit of discomfort caused by morning sickness, water retention, weight gain, and other pregnancy related issues do not cause too much worry as these discomforts are borne by all women around the world. However, routine blood and urine tests conducted as part of the first physical examination may reveal certain risk factors. One of them is a low platelet count in the blood. If during your pregnancy, your physical examination does show that you have a low platelets count, there is no need to panic. Your health care provider will be the best person to guide you and recommend a course of action or treatment that needs to be followed. A low platelet count during pregnancy can come to light when the blood is screened during routine tests. While gestational thrombocytopenia, or low blood platelets during pregnancy, occurs in only about seven to eight percent of all pregnant women, it is always better to know the causes, symptoms, and treatment related to low platelets in pregnant women. The condition could be caused by several pregnancy-related factors and usually improves or disappears after delivery. Platelets, also called thrombocytes, are formed in the bone marrow. They are non-nucleated cells that remain active in the blood for about ten days before they are replaced. Platelets help the blood to clot and coagulate when there is a cut or wound and help plug the wound to minimize the loss of blood. Low platelet counts causes loss of blood and anemia.

The fall in the platelet count could be caused by a diseased liver, certain types of cancer associated with the lymphatic system, certain drugs and medications, or even deficiency of vitamin B12 and folate.

In cases of ITP or idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura, the body’s immune system turns against its own platelets, producing antibodies that destroy them. Preeclampsia or hypertension induced by pregnancy and HELLP syndrome, a condition associated with preeclampsia, are marked by low platelets during pregnancy. HELLP syndrome usually occurs in the final stages of pregnancy, although its symptoms are often confused with those of heartburn. If the low platelet count in pregnancy is due to HELLP syndrome, doctors may suggest a C-section in the third trimester, if the baby is more than 35 weeks old, to avoid further complications like placental abruption. Also, a low platelets pregnancy may indicate increased destruction of blood platelets where the body is not able to replenish the stock quickly enough, decreased production of blood platelets in the bone marrow, splenic sequestration, and by diseases of the liver or malaria. Low platelet count in pregnancy can be classified as mild, moderate, and severe, depending on the platelet count levels; it can also lead to pregnancy implantation problems such as bleeding and cramps. For evaluating the risks associated with a low platelet count pregnancy, the doctor would need details of the patient’s medical history. This would include any previous history of bleeding problems, hereditary bleeding disorders, details of alcohol or substance abuse, history of transfusions, and facts about similar issues in past pregnancies. Doctors often do not recommend the use of epidural anesthesia during delivery if the woman has low platelets in pregnancy as it could lead to several complications.

In a normal person, the platelet count is between 150 to 400 million per milliliter of blood. During pregnancy, the proportion of plasma in the blood is increased, but the number of platelets remains the same, thereby resulting in a low platelet count in pregnancy due to the dilution of blood. A person with low platelets in pregnancy is likely to bruise easily or experience abnormal nose or gum bleeding. A third condition that points to this condition is slow clotting when there is a wound. Tiny red dots on the skin or blood leaks in nerves and broken veins all indicate low platelet count in the blood. In some cases, doctors may advice blood transfusion, if required, to bring the platelet count levels close to normal. During pregnancy, a low platelet count can be increased with a well-balanced diet; a good diet boosts the body’s immune system, thereby increasing the number of platelets. However, any bleeding accompanied by cramps or pain should be reported to the doctor immediately. That said; it must be understood that not all bleeding is dangerous. In the first trimester, pregnancy implantation symptoms can include slight bleeding as the fertilized egg fixes itself on the lining of the wall of the uterus. If the individual does not exhibit any other signs of low platelets in blood and the healing of wounds happens naturally, another blood test may be conducted to rule out any lab errors. If, however, the low platelet count is confirmed, doctors sometimes may opt to treat the problem with the help of medications. This is done especially in the case of ITP, where, as mentioned earlier, the platelets are mistaken to be foreign substances and begin to be destroyed by the body. The medication that is given by doctors help turn off the immune response of the body to the platelets.

To sum up, it is usually found that a reduction of platelets during pregnancy is not considerable, and doctors typically follow the “wait and watch” route instead of directly treating the problem; often suggesting a simple change in diet. Also, it is found that most women recover from this problem of low platelets soon after their pregnancy ends. Regardless, if you are suffering from a severe case of low platelets, even before pregnancy, speak with your doctor about the possible complications and treatment options. If your low platelet count is considerably low and the condition is related to pregnancy, it is best to seek the advice of your doctor regarding possible medication, dietary changes, and delivery options.

Low Platelets During Pregnancy
Low Platelets During Pregnancy
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