My DVT Was Misdiagnosed as Postpartum Swelling: Chelsea’s Story

My DVT Was Misdiagnosed as Postpartum Swelling: Chelsea’s Story

In the Spring of 2013, I was expecting my first children, twin girls! My twins arrived at just 30 weeks and were both in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

About 2-3 weeks after their birth, I noticed some discoloration on my leg, and it felt a little weak. I went to urgent care, where I was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection despite zero symptoms.

My symptoms had become worse over the next few days. I had swelling in my left leg and it was hard to walk. I went to the ER, where I was told it was postpartum swelling and I needed to “move around more.”

I continued trying to manage my twins in the NICU and my own deteriorating health. Two days later, I was in so much pain I returned to the ER, where I was finally diagnosed with a DVT and was put on rivaroxaban.

At my postpartum visit at six weeks, my OB noticed that the swelling was not decreasing and she got me in with a vascular surgeon. He had me to check into the ICU for the weekend and they burst my clot with sound waves. He also diagnosed me with May-Thurner syndrome. In the weeks following, I felt so much better.

Ten years later, I’m healthy, my twins are healthy and I was able to manage my MT through a subsequent full-term pregnancy. I live an active life with my three kids and a life of immense gratitude for those who have cared for us all.

This experience has made me appreciate the gift of being able to move my body freely. It’s made me more attuned to my own medical needs and self-care. I will continue to educate others on risk factors and prevention.


Women and Blood Clots: Pregnancy and Childbirth
May-Thurner syndrome
DVT Diagnosis

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