Aug 23, 2011
Posted in Miscarriage

Heparin for Women Experiencing Recurrent Miscarriage

Women experiencing recurrent miscarriage (3 or more successive miscarriages) are often treated with heparin therapy. Heparin is a blood thinning agent; it works by preventing blood clotting occurring due to antiphospholipid syndrome or other variations of thrombophilias.

Recurrent miscarriageAntiphospholipid syndrome is basically an autoimmune disease affecting around 5% of pregnant ladies. This medical condition is known to cause 10-20% of the recurrent miscarriages. The cases of miscarriage from antiphospholipid syndrome are evident among 2-7% of the Caucasians; the frequency of miscarriage due to antiphospholipid syndrome is comparatively low among the Asians and African Americans.

How does heparin help women to avoid a miscarriage? As mentioned earlier, heparin functions as an anticoagulant agent i.e. it prevents formation of blood clots. Women suffering from antiphospholipid syndrome have antibodies of phospholipids in their body; phospholipids are fats that form the inside lining of our blood vessels. Formation of blood clots due to antiphospholipid syndrome often blocks the blood vessels, which cuts off the flow of nutrients towards the woman’s placenta resulting in fetal death. Heparin makes sure that the blood clot does not occur and the flow of nuHeparin for miscarriage preventiontrients into the woman’s placenta occurs properly. This reduces the possibility of fetal death due to blood clotting from antiphospholipid syndrome.

The molecular weight of the drug heparin is quite high; this stops it from crossing the placenta and reaching the growing fetus. As a result of this mode of functioning of heparin, the drug is considered to be absolutely safe for pregnant women. It is the safest anticoagulant for pregnant women. The other widely used anticoagulant drug by general patients is Warfarin. However, as this drug crosses placenta, pregnant women should not use this drug for preventing miscarriage caused by blood clot formation. Even if a pregnant woman is treated with heparin, she needs to undergo medical checkups and blood tests at regular intervals for making sure that the dosages of heparin taken by her are within the therapeutic range.

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