Platelets are blood cells of major importance. Namely, they play significant role when it comes to blood clotting and prevention of exsanguination once some blood vessels are damaged. Their number needs to be optimal in order for the process of coagulation to occur adequately. However, there are cases when the number of platelets changes. Increase of platelets in medically known as thrombocytosis, while thrombocytopenia represents a drop in platelet count.
Insufficient number of platelets is closely related to excessive and abnormal bleeding while excess of platelets may cause serious problems due to increased blood coagulation and formation of blood clots. Once they form, blood clots can cause many problems and heart attack and stroke are only two of them.
What Causes Low Platelet Count in Pregnancy?
It is not unusual for a pregnant woman to develop thrombocytopenia during pregnancy. Some women even become pregnant with inadequate number of thrombocytes and the condition only worsens during pregnancy. One of the simplest explanations why the number of platelets during pregnancy drops is increase in the volume of the plasma. This way the number of platelets per milliliter of blood will definitely be lower then when the plasma was present in smaller amounts. Because plasma volume tends to increase most during the third trimester, this is the time when thrombocytopenia most commonly occurs. This type of thrombocytopenia is medically known as gestational thrombocytopenia.
Some scientists believe that the actual life span of platelets (which is normally around 5-9 days) becomes shorter during pregnancy and this may explain the cause of possible thrombocytopenia.
Thrombocytopenia may be connected with some conditions that occur during pregnancy such as preeclampsia and eclampsia. And finally, even the onset of more serious conditions that may affect all women, no matter if they are pregnant or not, such as thrombocytopenic purpura can cause a sudden drop in platelet count.
Treatment for Low Platelet Count in Pregnancy
Mild cases of thrombocytopenia in pregnancy are not reason for a woman to worry. However, if there is serious drop in platelet count, it is of major importance to identify the underlying cause and bring the condition under control. The goal is to increase the number of platelets to an optimal level.
Once the condition responsible for thrombocytopenia is identified a woman is treated accordingly. However, all doctors pay close attention and never administer or prescribe treatments which may cause harm to the mother or the baby. Mild gestational thrombocytopenia does not need to be treated and it improves soon after delivery. Severe cases of thrombocytopenia may require platelet transfusions.