BookmarkBookmarkTick

What Is Heparin?

My doctor said I should take heparin. How can it help?
ByMyra Wick, MD
OB-GYN
Updated
March 2, 2017
Hero Image

Heparin is an anticoagulant. That’s a medication that’s designed to slow the blood’s clotting time. Normally, when you get a cut, your blood clots in a matter of seconds. That process takes longer for someone who’s on an anticoagulant.

If you have a clotting condition, like  thrombophlebitis or  deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or a family history of clotting, your doc may prescribe heparin.

Heparin needs to be injected, so if you’re prescribed it, your doctor or nurse will teach you how to give yourself the shots. Sounds scary we know, but it’s actually pretty easy — since the needle is really thin and short, it’s more like pricking your finger than getting a shot.

Note that since your blood will be thinner, you might be more prone to bruising while you’re taking heparin. The good news is that effects of heparin wear off quickly, so even if you need surgery (such as a c-section) at the end of your pregnancy, your doc will be able to control your bleeding so it doesn’t cause complications for you.
Many women who use heparin during pregnancy can stop using it after baby’s born — but since that’s decided case-by-case, you’ll need to ask your doc what’s best for you.

Plus, more from The Bump:

Related Video

Can You Take Tylenol While Pregnant?

profile picture of Anna Davies
Anna Davies
Contributing Writer
pregnant woman in pajamas sitting on her bed

Taking Tylenol While Pregnant May Increase Risk of ADHD, Study Says

profile picture of Nehal Aggarwal
Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
Published
11/01/2019
folic acid supplement pregnant women should take

Do You Need Folic Acid or Folate? It Depends on Your Genes, Study Says

profile picture of Anisa Arsenault
Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
05/02/2018
Illustration of a prescription bottle full of pills

Study Takes a Closer Look at What Antibiotics During Pregnancy Mean for Baby

profile picture of Ashley Edwards Walker
Ashley Edwards Walker
Contributing Writer
Published
02/08/2018
Pregnant woman holding cigarette

Could Drugs and Alcohol During Pregnancy Become a Crime?

profile picture of Ashley Edwards Walker
Ashley Edwards Walker
Contributing Writer
Published
01/24/2018

How to Relieve Headaches Without Medication

profile picture of Maria Kammerer
Maria Kammerer
Certified Nurse-Midwife

Is It Safe to Take Ketoprofen?

profile picture of Christian Hoffman, MD
Christian Hoffman, MD
OB-GYN
Article removed.