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Antiphospholipid Syndrome (APS) in Pregnancy

One of the reasons of repeated pregnancy loss is Antiphospholipid syndrome (APLS). It is an autoimmune disorder that causes complications in pregnancy such as repeated miscarriages and stillbirth.


It is a disorder that affects the immune system, produces antibodies and causes increased blood clotting. In an average person, antibodies help in fighting against external infections, whereas antibodies are produced, resulting in excess clotting of blood. This is one of the risk factors in pregnancy.


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Symptoms of APS


  • Blood clots in legs that may travel you your lungs.
  • History of repeated miscarriages or still birth
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Frequent Stroke conditions
  • History of repeated miscarriages or still birth
  • Premature delivery
  • Low blood count
  • High blood pressure during pregnancy
  • Transitory ischemic attack (TIA)
  • Chronic headaches or migraines


Why does it happen?


During pregnancy, if a women observes abnormal blood clots due to production of antibodies that attack phospholipids.


It is common to have antiphospholipid antibodies until and unless it causes a problem. It can happen due to an underlying condition, or without an underlying cause.


Other possible risk factors are as follows:

  • Presence of autoimmune conditions.
  • Diagnosed with infections such as hepatitis C, syphilis or HIV/AIDS.
  • Family member with antiphospholipid syndrome.


How to diagnose APS?


APS testing includes diagnosis of lupus anticoagulant (LAC), anticardiolipin (aCL) antibody and anti-beta-2glycoprotein I antibody.


How can APS be treated?


The prime criteria for APS treatment is reduce blood’s tendency to clot and thereby, reduce pregnancy complications.


Standard treatment of APS:


If the woman has thrombosis, anticoagulant medications will be given to promote thinning of blood. 

Heparin: Heparin injections help in thinning of blood. It is usually given in combination with pills such as Warfarin.

Warfarin: Your doctor might stop administering heparin after a few days. Warfarin may be continued for lifetime.

Aspirin: Your doctor may prescribe you low amounts of aspirin.


Also, your doctor may reduce or increase your dosage from time to time to ensure that your blood is capable of clotting enough to curb unnecessary bleeding.


APS treatment for pregnant moms


Heparin: Different types of heparin injections or low-molecular-weight heparin are recommended. It is a safe treatment option during pregnancy.

Aspirin: Sometimes, women may be given one tablet daily of Aspirin coupled with Heparin. It is said to increase a woman’s chance to conceive.


Closing Thoughts


Antiphospholipid syndrome is a difficult condition to diagnose. However with the help of APLA test, one can identify presence of APS. If you have a genetic history of this syndrome, it is strictly advised to get yourself evaluated for APS. Also, women with repeated pregnancy losses or abortions, APS can be a possible reason. In case of Positive APLA test, you should visit a gynecologist and it will be managed by medications and thereby, help you have a healthy pregnancy.


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