Treatment of venous thromboembolism in pregnancy

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Opinion statement

Venous thromboembolism is a major preventable cause of maternal mortality in developed countries. Following objective diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism, appropriate treatment with anticoagulation should be initiated. The therapeutic options in pregnancy are limited to the use of either unfractionated heparin or low molecular weight heparin. Oral anticoagulants, like warfarin, are relatively contraindicated for use during pregnancy for the treatment of venous thromboembolism because they freely cross the placenta and can be associated with adverse fetal effects. The appropriate length of treatment for acute venous thromboembolic disease diagnosed during pregnancy should be at least 3 months and possibly up till 6 weeks after delivery.