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Venous thromboembolism (VTE - blood clots that form in deep veins or in the lungs) has been identified as a leading cause of death in economically developed countries for pregnant and recently-pregnant women. There is evidence that clotting parameters can take up to 6 weeks to return to normal for women who have had term deliveries, however there is an absence of information on time taken for clotting parameters to normalise following abortion. As such, existing guidelines are based solely on expert opinion and recommend durations of VTE prevention from as short as 7 days, up to 6 weeks following abortion. All women are assessed for risk of VTE, but data are needed to inform an evidence-based approach to prevention of VTE in these women. The findings from this pilot study have the potential to inform clinical guidance and possibly a larger study subsequently.
Earlier studies describe the half-life of hPL in serum as being ninety minutes and that the hormone is excreted unchanged in urine; consequently, there is real potential to use the fall in hormone levels in urine to monitor bleeding in pregnancy, the outcome of natural and artificial abortions or placental health. This study will focus on the fall of hPL following delivery by Caesarean section when women have a urinary catheter in place and sampling urine is simple to achieve.