Being pregnant can cause some wonky things to happen to your body. Some go without saying—weight gain, strange cravings (jalapeño peppers on popcorn), fatigue (tbh, you’re carrying around another human being…), and a host of other related conditions. Gotta pee all the time? Yeeeaahh… It’s fun being pregnant.
For pregnant women with a protein C deficiency, leg cramps and a swollen leg can indicate a much more serious and possibly life-threatening condition.
Protein C deficiency can be found in both men and women. The main function of protein C is to prevent blood from clotting. If you’re lacking protein C, your blood is more likely to clot than someone with normal levels of protein C. This condition can cause real concern when it comes to pregnancy and deep vein thrombosis (DVT), as women with a protein C deficiency have an increased risk of blood clots.
What’s DVT? Well, it’s characterized by a blood clot having formed deep in the body.
During pregnancy, most DVTs occur in the lower leg or thigh. If left untreated, a clot can break off and travel to the lungs, which can be a life-threatening event. DVT is a treatable condition; injectable medication will break down the clot enabling your body to harmlessly dissolve it.
As with anyone who’s ever been pregnant, I welcomed all the symptoms (weird and wacky) in exchange for the privilege of helping my son into this world; but I do remember a number of physicians and nurses warning me to not ignore leg pain.
I recall being told about the importance of remaining active and minimizing other risk factors.
With so many things to “expect” when I was expecting, I did my best to continue exercising and being mindful of any painful or warm areas on my legs, as well as changes to skin color, all of which might indicate a problem.