Local News

Unique Clinic Helping Woman Have Safer Pregnancies

Posted June 16, 2003

— Pregnancy is often a wonderful time for a women, but it can also be a dangerous time for women with clotting or bleeding disorders which can lead to stillbirths or miscarriage.

A unique clinic at

Duke Medical Center

is helping women have successful pregnancies. The clinic is the only one in the country dedicated to reproductive bleeding and clotting issues in women.

Daniele Evans said her third pregnancy was nothing like the first two. She could hardly move because of painful leg cramps, but thought it was just part of being pregnant.

One day she collapsed and ended up in the emergency room. Doctors told her she had a blood clot in her lungs that was headed toward her brain.

"And they could give me blood thinners that would help me to live, but the baby might die," Evans said.

Studies show that one out of every 1,000 women develops blood clots during pregnancy.

Blood clots can limit blood flow to the placenta, which causes growth problems, miscarriage and a potentially fatal condition called pre-eclampsia.

The clinic also focuses on women with von Willerbrand's disease, which is the most common bleeding disorder. It affects nearly 3 million women.

"Von Willebrand's disease can be both health and life threatening to women during menstruation or childbirth," said Dr. Andra James, clinic co-director.

Doctors at the clinic plan to collect tissue and DNA samples to study clotting disorders in women. The objective is to catch it early in women who are at risk for problems.

Evans' clots were caused by a rare gene mutation. With proper treatment, her pregnancy went as planned. Evans' daughter, Jada, is now 3 years old.

"I've just got so much to be thankful for," Evans said.

Most clotting disorders are genetic, but birth control pills can greatly increase chances of developing a blood clot. When a woman is pregnant she is five times more likely to develop a blood clot. Trauma, cancer, prolonged bed rest and surgery can also increase the risk of a clot.


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