Thrombocytopenia is a deficiency of platelets in your blood stream. It is a blood platelet count below 150,000/ìL and it is the second most common blood disorder in pregnancy after anaemia. The normal range should be 150,000 - 400,000.
Platelets are plate-shaped cells that circulate in your body that help your blood to clot when it needs to. They are colourless blood cells that act to stop bleeding by clumping together and form little plugs in blood vessel injuries.
- Easy and/or excessive bruising
- Prolonged bleeding from cuts
- Bleeding gums or nose
- Blood in urine or stools
- Heavy menstrual flows
- Enlarged spleen
In most cases, women with mild thrombocytopenia do not need treatment and it will go away a few week post delivery. However, if there is an underlying cause addressing that may clear up the thrombocytopenia.
In some cases, thrombocytopenia can be inherited. If your platelets are low throughout your pregnancy it is likely your baby will be given their Vitamin K orally and he/she will have a blood test within a couple of hour of being born to determine the level of their platelets. Some paediatricians may also avoid the heel prick if mothers platelets are extremely low, instead, they use the wound from the blood test.
Some maternity hospitals have different recommendations but in The Coombe, if your platelet count drops below 80,000 per microlitre of blood during pregnancy you cannot have an epidural.