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Then there are those compression devices, which slip over each leg and regularly inflate and deflate, sort of like a massage, to help blood flow more briskly.
The obstetricians' group acknowledges that there haven't been large studies with C-sections to prove how much difference the gadgets could make. But it decided to recommend them anyway because in other types of surgery, the devices can cut the clot risk by two-thirds, James says.
The guidelines recommend strapping them on before the C-section begins, unless there's no time before an emergency operation or the woman is taking anti-clotting medication.
Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York began using the devices for C-sections a few years ago, and deputy chief medical officer Dr. Erin DuPree says they add $14 to the cost of care. Women typically remove and replace them as they ease out of bed throughout the first day after surgery, and no longer need them by the second day, she says.
"It's an easy thing to do that really does not cause harm and could potentially help," she says.
James stresses that leg compression shouldn't lull a woman into thinking she can rest in bed rather than push herself to walk -- and a new mom should remain alert to symptoms when she goes home because half of pregnancy-related DVTs occur in those weeks after childbirth.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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