Thrombocytopenia, also known as thin blood, can cause significant complications in pregnancy and childbirth, such as maternal hemorrhage, neonatal thrombocytopenia and intracranial hemorrhage, according to the Wiley Online Library. Thrombocytopenia occurs when the platelet count in blood drops below 150,000. The normal range for platelet count is between 150,000 and 400,000, according to WebMD.
Thrombocytopenia is a relatively common blood disorder during pregnancy, occurring in approximately 7 to 10 percent of pregnancies, according to the Wiley Online Library. Most cases of thrombocyctopenia in pregnancy are mild or benign and have no negative impact on either the mother or her pregnancy. However, some cases could be life threatening. During the first and second trimesters of pregnancy, low platelet count is most likely due to an immune process or a platelet production disorder.
During the third trimester, thrombocytopenia could indicate the HELLP syndrome, which stands for hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelets. The HELLP syndrome is a multi-system disease of pregnancy that is associated with preeclampsia and can be life-threatening for both the mother and her fetus, according to WebMD. The HELLP syndrome can cause a headache, visual disturbances, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and seizures.
Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura is another possible complication of pregnancy that is associated with low platelet count, according to the Wiley Online Library. Like the HELLP syndrome, TTP is life threatening to both the mother and her pregnancy and requires immediate emergency medical attention.