Preventing Blood Clots in Pregnancy: A Podcast with Maternal/Perinatal Patient Safety Expert Colleen Lee

“Preventing Blood Clots in Pregnancy” – a podcast on the heightened risk of blood clots in pregnant women, the use of simple devices like sequential compression devices to help prevent blood clots, and the role of the OB VTE Safety Recommendations – is now available at the Physician-Patient Alliance For Heath & Safety YouTube channel at

On iTunes, the podcast is available at

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In the podcast, Colleen Lee MS, RN (Maternal/Perinatal Patient Safety Officer, Montefiore Medical Center) discusses the heightened risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE which is commonly referred to as blood clots) in pregnancy. This risk remains even after delivery, said Ms. Lee:

After the delivery, there are two stages of risk and we do know that the woman’s greatest risk for a blood clot to occur is in the first six weeks. At that time, she’s almost ten times more likely than a non-pregnant woman to develop a blood clot. After the sixth week, between the seventh and twelfth weeks postpartum, she has a significantly decreased risk [than in the first 6 weeks]. However, she’s still almost twice as likely, as non-pregnant women, to develop a blood clot at that time.

To help prevent VTE (includes both deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE)), Ms. Lee recommends that patients be assessed, “Ideally if we identify women who are at increased risk, we can intervene early enough to prevent such a serious complication, such as a saddle embolus.”

Patient risk assessment and the use of simple devices like sequential compression devices can reduce VTE risk. Said Ms. Lee:

Probably the single most important thing that the healthcare team can do is risk assessment and preventative measures for those women who are found to be at higher risk. Among the preventative measures that can be taken for a woman who is found to be at a higher risk are mechanical prophylaxis

The podcast is hosted by Pat Iyer, a legal nurse consultant who provides education to healthcare providers about patient safety. She can be reached at

Ms. Lee was one of the renowned health experts who put together the OB VTE Safety Recommendations.

The OB VTE Safety Recommendations were developed with the advice and counsel of these health experts brought together by the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety. They provide four concise steps that:

  1. Assess patients for VTE risk with an easy to use automated scoring system.
  2. Provide the recommended prophylaxis regimen, depending on whether the mother is antepartum or postpartum.
  3. Reassess the patient every 24 hours or upon the occurrence of a significant event, like surgery.
  4. Ensure that the mother is provided appropriate VTE prevention education upon hospital discharge.

The OB VTE Safety Recommendations are a free resource at


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