Everything Need to Know About Thrombocytopenia in Pregnancy

Everything Need to Know About Thrombocytopenia in Pregnancy
0 17 August 2023
Everything Need to Know About Thrombocytopenia in Pregnancy

Thrombocytopenia is a medical term that refers to a low blood platelet count in the body. Gestational Thrombocytopenia is when the blood platelet count drops below the average level during pregnancy. A comforting fact about this condition is that gestational Thrombocytopenia is common during pregnancy. It affects an average of 10% of pregnant women and usually resolves independently under the monitoring and care of a gynaecologist.

However, every condition during pregnancy, no matter how minor it seems, carries a risk. Given the sensitive state of the patient, no health condition should be taken lightly. Take gestational Thrombocytopenia, for example. While it is common, it can quickly escalate to cause complications such as severe bruising, prolonged abnormal bleeding, preeclampsia, reduced urination, and weakness. So, how does a gynaecologist treat this condition, and what can be done to avoid its risks? We asked one of the top 10 gynaecologists in Mumbai, Dr. Neelima Mantri. Read on to know her answers.

Thrombocytopenia in Pregnancy: What Is It Exactly?

Thrombocytes, also called blood platelets, are tiny blood cells that help with blood clotting. Pregnancy is a condition where clotting is needed to reduce the risk of excessive bleeding. So, these platelets, which make clotting happen, are much needed during pregnancy. They work in blood vessels to reduce clotting.

Sometimes they also build up plaque that can cause heart attacks, but that’s a different story. But sticking to the topic of Thrombocytopenia – a lesser number of blood platelets lowers the clotting potential. It increases the risk of excessive bleeding, significantly increasing the chance of pregnancy problems (prolonged bleeding, fluid loss & early birth).

Thrombocytopenia in Pregnancy: When to Worry?

 The normal range for platelets in a non-pregnant condition is 150,000 to 450,000/µL. Due to changes in the body during pregnancy, it makes more plasma for its daily functions, and consequently, the platelet count drops by a few thousand, which is quite common. It’s a matter of concern when the platelet count falls below 100,000/µL, says Dr. Neelima Mantri, the best gynaecologist in South Mumbai.

What Causes Thrombocytopenia in Pregnancy?

The human body is pretty savvy in adapting to rapid changes like pregnancy. However, occasionally, the balance gets impacted due to pre-existing conditions or chance.

One of the common reasons is the enlargement of the spleen, which tends to destroy the blood in the filtering process. The lack of folic acid is another common cause, and even viral and bacterial illnesses can lower the total platelet count. Medications such as antibiotics and anticonvulsants also impact the production of platelets.

Thrombocytopenia in Pregnancy Can Impact Both Mom & Baby – Dr Neelima Mantri:

Lower blood platelets can interfere with medications that must be given for a safe pregnancy. For example, the inability to have an epidural, which is given to block the pain from labour contractions, can result in spine damage. The lack of clotting potential can lead to abnormal bleeding and even preeclampsia, which may further trigger premature delivery.

Though a lower blood platelet count doesn’t directly impact the baby, the cause of the lower count must be considered to assess the potential impact on the baby. If the lower blood count is due to an autoimmune condition, antibodies that destroy these platelets may travel through the placenta and cause similar issues for the child.

Treatment Options for Thrombocytopenia in Pregnancy:

Lowered blood platelet count is often treated with regular treatment options like dietary prescriptions and lifestyle changes. Gynaecologists often recommend foods such as dark chocolate, green leafy vegetables, Vitamin C foods, and fortified breakfast cereals as primary treatment options. In cases where autoimmune conditions or any other factors, treatments may vary based on the specific reason causing Thrombocytopenia in pregnancy.