If you have von Willebrand disease (VWD), you can take steps to prevent bleeding and stay healthy. You should:
Some safe exercises and activities are swimming, biking, and walking. Football, hockey, wrestling, and lifting heavy weights are not safe activities if you have bleeding problems. Always check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.
Your parents, brothers and sisters, and children also may have VWD. Consider telling them about your diagnosis and suggesting that they get tested too.
Pregnancy can be a challenge for women who have VWD. Although blood levels of von Willebrand factor and factor VIII tend to increase during pregnancy, women who have VWD can have bleeding complications during delivery. They also are likely to have heavy bleeding for an extended time after delivery.
However, you can take steps to lower the risk of complications during pregnancy. Consult a hematologist and an obstetrician who specialize in high-risk pregnancies before you become pregnant.
A hematologist is a doctor who specializes in treating blood diseases and disorders. An obstetrician is a doctor who treats and provides care for pregnant women.
Consider using a medical center that specializes in high-risk obstetrics and has a hematologist on staff for prenatal care and delivery.
Before you have any invasive procedure, such as amniocentesis (AM-ne-o-sen-TE-sis), discuss with your doctor whether anything needs to be done to prevent serious blood loss.
During your third trimester, you should have blood tests to measure von Willebrand factor and factor VIII to help plan for delivery.
You also should meet with an anesthesiologist to review your choices for anesthesia (AN-es-THE-ze-a) and to discuss taking medicine to reduce your bleeding risk. The term "anesthesia" refers to a loss of feeling and awareness. Some types of anesthesia temporarily put you to sleep, while others only numb certain areas of your body.
With these precautions, most women who have VWD can have successful pregnancies.
If your child has VWD that's severe enough to pose a major risk of bleeding, anyone who is responsible for him or her should be told about the condition.
For example, the school nurse, teacher, daycare provider, coach, or any leader of afterschool activities should know, especially if your child has one of the more severe forms of VWD. This information will help them handle the situation if your child has an injury.
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