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Use of anticoagulants during pregnancy and postpartum

Kenneth A Bauer, MD
Section Editors
Lawrence LK Leung, MD
Charles J Lockwood, MD, MHCM
Deputy Editors
Jennifer S Tirnauer, MD
Vanessa A Barss, MD, FACOG


A subset of pregnant patients requires anticoagulation during pregnancy and/or in the postpartum period, including women at high risk of deep vein thrombosis and women with prosthetic heart valves, atrial fibrillation, cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, left ventricular dysfunction, and some women with fetal loss.

Use of anticoagulants during pregnancy is challenging due to the potential teratogenic effects and dosing complexities of the various agents, and the management of anticoagulation around the time of labor. In addition, women receiving chronic anticoagulation who are contemplating pregnancy need counseling regarding how to avoid the potential teratogenic effects of warfarin.

This topic review describes our approach to the clinical issues of anticoagulant use in women during attempted conception, pregnancy, and postpartum. Indications for anticoagulation during pregnancy are discussed in disease-specific topic reviews:

(See "Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism in pregnancy: Treatment".)

(See "Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism in pregnancy: Prevention".)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Nov 28, 2017.
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