A MUM is warning women about the danger of blood clots after she nearly lost her life to one shortly after giving birth.
Today is World Thrombosis Day and Fern Guillen, from Fareham, wants to ensure expectant mums and women on the contraceptive pill know about blood clots and their symptoms.
The 32-year-old was hospitalised last November after a clot formed that went from her knee to her stomach. She is still having to take medication because of the seriousness of her condition.
Fern said: ‘My pregnancy with Alex was fine but when I went to give birth he was a little small and had breached.
‘I had to have a C-section and was told of the risks associated with one but I don’t remember hearing too much about blood clots.
‘I was given seven days of blood thinning medication but a few weeks after giving birth I felt breathless and my leg swelled up.’
I want people to be aware of the symptoms and the dangers because it can be life-threatening.Fern Guillen
Fern’s husband Sam rushed her to the A&E department at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham after her swollen leg turned purple and she was struggling to breathe.
After a series of scans, Fern was told she had a blood clot.
She added: ‘The specialist told me it was one of the biggest they’d ever seen.
‘It went from my knee to my stomach and I also had multiple clots in my lungs.
‘I could have lost my life if I hadn’t gone to hospital when I did. That was such a scary thought.’
Fern gave birth to Alex on World Thrombosis Day last year and a year on she is passionate about raising awareness.
‘Women are at risk of blood clots after pregnancy but also when they are on the contraceptive pill,’ she said.
‘I want people to be aware of the symptoms and the dangers because it can be life-threatening.’
Symptoms of deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot in the deep vein of the leg, includes pain or tenderness in the leg, swelling including in the ankle or foot, redness or noticeable discolouration and enlarged veins.
Symptoms of a pulmonary embolism, which is a clot in the lungs, include unexplained shortness of breath, rapid breathing, chest pain, coughing up blood, a rapid heart rate and light headedness or passing out.
Simon Freathy, venous thromboembolism specialist practitioner at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said: ‘It’s so important to support World Thrombosis Day.
‘A huge number of people – one in four people worldwide – die from conditions caused by blood clots. That’s approximately one person every six seconds globally.
‘Thrombosis can be broadly divided into two main types, venous thromboembolism, which is a blood clot in a vein, also known as VTE, and clots in the arteries that can cause strokes and heart attacks.
‘VTE is a condition in which blood clots form, most often in the deep vein of the leg known as deep vein thrombosis.
‘The clot can travel and end up in the lungs. This is known as pulmonary embolism.
‘DVT and PE are serious, life-threatening conditions that require immediate medical attention. So know your risks, ask for a blood clot risk assessment if you come into hospital and be aware of the symptoms.’