I’ve had thrombocytopenia about six years now, it was initially detected during a routine blood test but has only ever become an issue during pregnancy. I attend the Medical Clinic in the Coombe so my bloods can be monitored on a regular basis, at present I have a blood test fortnightly. My platelets tend to vary between 60,000 – 100,000 during pregnancy and tend to rise above 100,000 within a week of delivery.
Thrombocytopenia is a deficiency of platelets in your blood stream. A normal range of platelets is 150,000 to 450,000 per microlitre of circulating blood. They’re colourless blood cells that act to stop bleeding by clumping together and forming little plugs in blood vessel injuries.
Thrombocytopenia has never really affected me outside of pregnancy, I get the odd nose bleed and gum bleed but nothing serious. There’s a few frustrating side affects to having low platelets during pregnancy. I have daily nose bleeds, sometimes up to five a day and I can’t brush my teeth without my gums bleeding. I get prolonged bleeding from the smallest of cuts and excessive bruising too. Also when your platelet count drops below 80,000 per micro litre of blood during pregnancy an epidural is completely out of the question so I’ve had to endure two natural births on nothing more than Paracetamol.
During pregnancy if your platelet count drops dramatically low you may need intervention, most likely a platelet transfusion so I’m being monitored closely in hope this won’t happen. I’m not too worried considering it’s my third pregnancy so I know the in’s and out’s at this stage. However I was giving steroids post delivery on Frankie to move my uterus back into pre-pregnancy position quicker to help prevent prolonged bleeding and that mixed with the after birth pains was very painful. All I can say is thank god for an awesome Midwife, Tylex and Difene.
Thrombocytopenia can be inherited so when Frankie was born last year he had his Vitamin K orally and had a blood test within hours of being born. I sobbed my heart out as I could hear his little cries from the nurses station. Four doctors took turns over fifteen minutes to get a vein. It was horrendous! Paediatricians from Our Lady’s had then recommended a repeat before discharging us and he had another blood test on the day of his heel prick. Technically he didn’t have a heel prick, the nurse kindly swabbed his hand where the blood test had been taken so not to put him through any more torture. And thankfully he got the all clear, however his hands were black and blue for six weeks. I can only assume little miss will have to go through the same ordeal when she is born but hopefully it’s the same outcome and her bloods will be normal too.