Uses and side effects of heparin in pregnancy

 Heparin side effects in pregnancy

Heparin is an anticoagulant drug. This means that it slows down blood clotting or helps to thin the blood. There are various types of heparin – the type we usually use is a low molecular weight Heparin (LMWH) such as Enoxaparin (also Known as CLexane) or Dalteparin.

side effects of heparin in pregnancy

Venous thrombosis is a condition in which a blood clot (thrombus) forms in a vein (venous thrombosis) most commonly, venous thrombosis occurs in the “deep veins” in the legs or thigh area which is related to your pelvic muscles and we know it as deep vein thrombosis. This causes your blood to stop in vain and causes issues with you such as redness, swelling, with pain. But it came with some complications that are it may break its limitation and can enter the bloodstream.

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This situation is known as an embolus, according to medical experts, this bloodstream can reach up to your lungs which is known as a pulmonary embolus (EP).

APE may cause breathing problems, chest pain, and coughing up blood but a large PE can cause collapse and may be life-threatening. The risk of developing pulmonary embolus can be diagnosed and treated easily without any hard precautions.

During pregnancy and the immediate periods after birth, the risk of venous thrombosis is increased.


The most common reason for using Heparin during pregnancy

While using heparin you may experience blood clotting that has raised

Few women who have some pregnancy complications experience an increased risk of blood clotting during pregnancy or after postpartum, they have had to use this heparin for the safety of a woman.

Already on long-term anticoagulation, e.g. recurrent thrombosis

Heparin is useful if you have a low molecular weight during pregnancy.

For pregnant women and women who have given birth, heparin is the anticoagulant of choice and is recommended by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. It is seen that heparin does not cross the placenta which makes harm-free fetus development.

Is it safe to breastfeed?

While taking multiple medical examinations no evidence had been reported that show any adverse effects of heparin while breastfeeding. According to experts, there is no evidence that heparin is dissolving into breast milk. 

There are rare chances that it may enter into your breast milk but before mixing it has to cross your stomachs which digest anything and there are not at all bad effects had been seen in any child till now. So it is said that using heparin is safe while breastfeeding


Are there any alternatives?

There are a few alternatives available anticoagulant is one of them which is used orally as a form of pills. But it may cross the placenta and can harm your fetus and its development. 

That’s why most of the time doctors do not allow this and they like to use aspirin which is less effective on the fetus or on the placenta than helps to protect you from DVT.

how to do breastfeeding while on heparin

DVT elastic compression stockings have a protective effect against DTV but can be uncomfortable to wear and are not protective against thrombosis anywhere else but the legs.

How will heparin be given to me?

Heparin is used as a form of infection because it can break down in the stomach if we take it orally in the presence of HCL which is also known as stomach acid. So taking this as a shot is useful. During pregnancy, your doctor may give you twice the same injection according to your health condition.

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While using heparin you must keep in mind that use its doses at the same time daily (within 2 hours) morning shots are recommended for monitoring blood tests. So keep it in mind if you are using heparin in pregnancy.

Are there any risks?

Side effects of heparin include:

Bruising at the injection site

While using heparin during pregnancy you have to face an increased tendency to bleeding or white vaginal shrub.

Slightly increased risk of a bruising (wound hematoma) if having a cesarean birth.

Any woman during pregnancy rarely experiences any allergic-type of symptoms while using heparin. While using this may increase the potassium level in your blood. It also causes bone thinning.

While using heparin during pregnancy and wants to avoid any side effects then you should consult with your health provider and regularly visit the clinic for checks up. Any serious problems appear or are seen only if you are going with an LMWH test during pregnancy.


When do I start heparin?

It will depend on why you are receiving heparin as to when your injections will start. Some people start easily in pregnancy but others may have treatment only after delivery. Heparin helps to maintain the natural flow of blood clotting ability of your body for maintenance and normalized the process of clotting. Anticoagulation is the reason when generally heparin is used for the following health condition.

What is needed to give the injections?

Heparin is used for maintaining your body’s ability for blood clotting into the blood. While heparin itself does not break down clots that have already formed, The LMWH comes in preloaded syringes.


To give the heparin you will need:

For cleaning the targeted area you must use an alcohol wipe for better protection.

A sharps bin – to dispose of the used needle and syringes

Side effects of heparin during pregnancy 

According to CDC, a pregnant woman may see these types of side effects after the heparin they are listed below.

While using some medications can cause some side effects if you took heparin if you experience any side effects after the heparin uses contact your health provider.

heparin uses

It is advised to you consult with your health provider if any of these symptoms are appearing in your body.

Less common effects:

Abdominal or stomach pain or swelling

Back pain or backaches

Bleeding from the gums when brushing teeth

Blood in the urine


Coughing up blood


Headaches, severe or continuing

Bleeding for a long time from any cut or wounds

Joint pain, stiffness, or swelling

Menstrual bleeding, unexpected or unusually heavy

Unexplained purplish areas on the skin

Unexplained nosebleeds

You may experience coffee types of vomiting or food,

Rare side effects of heparin in pregnancy

Blisters on the spots where you took injections

Chest pain

Chills or fever

Fast or irregular breathing

You may experience swelling, itching, pain, or ulcers on the spot of injection

You may experience burning sensations or itching on your feet or the bottom of your feet.

Nausea or vomiting

Tingling in hands or feet

You may experience blue skin or pain or cold

Your eyes may be puffed or develop a swelling

Peeling of the skin

Shortness of breath

You may experience a blue sink at the place of injection tipping point or fingers

Skin rash, hives, or itching

Tearing of the eyes

Tightness in the chest

Trouble with breathing


Final words…

Heparin's serious side effects are heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) caused by an immunological reaction that makes platelets a target of immunological response, resulting in the degradation of platelets, which causes thrombocytopenia. 

These types of health conditions is can be avoided with the help of synthetic heparins.

Non-hemorrhagic side-effects of heparin treatment are known.

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As with many drugs, an overdose of heparin can be fatal. According to a report published in September 2006 heparin got publicity due to overdoses of heparin killing premature infants.

Consult with your doctors if you are experiencing any side effects or any issues that will be good for you and your child during your pregnancy.

Heparin must be used in the presence of medical experts to make sure that you are doing it in the clinic.

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