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Stroke Risk After Childbirth

Although rates are very low, study finds increased risk continues for 12 weeks after delivery

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Rochelson reviewed the findings but did not participate in the study. He, too, emphasized that although the increased risk was found to persist, the absolute risk is small. "Even though the risk increases in that seven to 12 weeks, you are still talking about very few people relative to the total number," he said.

Since the events are serious, however, "even a small number is undesirable," he said.

One study limitation, Rochelson said, is that the researchers combined all the blood-clotting problems. In future studies, he said, researchers should consider looking separately at the risks of heart attacks, strokes and blood clots in the legs and lungs.

Women should be aware of the warning signs of a blood clot problem, Kamel said. These include chest pain or pressure; difficulty breathing; pain or swelling in one leg; sudden and severe headache; or a sudden change in consciousness, speech, balance, strength or sensation on one side of the body.

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