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WTf is Factor V Leiden in Pregnancy Loss?; Chat with Suzy Wood

Updated: Feb 2, 2023

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I had an interesting live interview with Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and fellow loss mama Suzy Wood from @truewellnesswithin last week, where I got to learn about this topic as I had never heard of it before. Unfortunately Suzy experienced pregnancy loss due to having Factor V Leiden and she really wanted to jump on a LIVE with me to bring awareness to it and I think she is so incredible for wanting to do that..

So lets dive into what we learnt, shall we!?

So would you like to tell everyone a little bit about yourself, where are you from what you do and what is your mission?

Guest Speaker; Suzy Wood (01:39)

So my name is Suzy Wood and I am a Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I'm based in New York and I work with women on achieving their best health. I also suffered about 20 years ago, a miscarriage. And so when I met you, I thought, well, this would be a great conversation and I wanted to hear your story, I wanted to tell my story and honestly, just to help somebody else out there, because I had absolutely no idea that I had anything that would have prevented me from becoming pregnant.

How do you pronounce it? (Don't do what I did and pronounce it completely wrong on a live interview 🤪)

Guest Speaker; Suzy Wood (01:01)

It's actually factor and then it's the number five, although it's written as the Roman numeral five (V) and then it's Leiden (pronounced lye/-den), which is actually named after a city in Holland.

I suffered about 20 years ago, a miscarriage. And so when I met you, I thought, well, this would be a great conversation and I wanted to hear your story, I wanted to tell my story and honestly, just to help somebody else out there, because I had absolutely no idea that I had anything that would have prevented me from becoming pregnant.

There's so many things within this space, the loss space that I have not heard of. That's exactly why I'm doing what I'm doing - To start these conversations, to bring awareness to it.

Factor V Leiden.. What is it?

Guest Speaker; Suzy Wood (06:46)

So it's a genetic condition. You inherit it from your parents. It's not like it's something that you just pick up in the environment. So it turned out that my father has two pieces of the gene, so he's what's called homozygous. So he has two genes of it. My mother had none, so therefore I had one. And that's called heterozygous. Right?

So you have, like, a parent with no trait of it, a parent with two come together. And then now I had I had, you know, one of the genes represented.

I started learning more about it, and basically, you're at a higher risk for developing blood clots and also having miscarriages.

I remember getting online and I started meeting all these women who had conditions like factor five Leiden, and there are some others, like I'm sure you've researched. And we all started chatting and we realized some people had been through 3, 4, 5, 6, even eight miscarriages before they were diagnosed. I mean, the horror of going through all of that, the pain. So I felt very lucky that I found out. And once you know what you have, then you can find treatment for it.

How is it treated?

Guest Speaker; Suzy Wood (08:55)

Living with Factor five Leiden, I don't have to do anything during my normal day at all. There's absolutely nothing I really need to change other than staying healthy and hydrated, which I should be doing anyway. The only time that it really comes into play is if you're pregnant, if you're on a long haul flight, which is like over five, 6 hours, because you're still you're not moving if you're going in for any kind of surgery, because obviously you could bleed.

And your body is going to try to clot if you're taking oral contraception or hormone replacement therapy because estrogen already puts you at having higher estrogen in your body already puts you at a higher risk for developing blood clots.

So anybody who's taking oral contraception or hormone replacement therapy is already at a higher risk of developing blood clots. Now you add a blood clotting condition on top of that and you're at an even higher risk let's say you're a smoker. You're now at an even higher risk of developing a blood clot. If you live a sedentary lifestyle, you're even more likely to develop a blood clot. So you try to eliminate the factors that are easy to eliminate.

Guest Speaker; Suzy Wood (10:06)

Don't smoke. Right. Move your body. Always stay hydrated. But sometimes you can't. If you're going in for surgery, you're not exactly going to be moving your body. So if I have any surgeries and I did end up successfully having two very healthy pregnancies, I have two boys who are 16 and tomorrow 19. Thank you. Thank goodness I got that diagnosis early on because it led me to have healthy pregnancies afterwards, because, again, I had the treatment. So once I found out I was pregnant, you know, after discovering all of this stuff, I was taking a blood thinner, which is also called an anticoagulant. So that spins your blood and it's an injection that I had to do myself. Talk about an education. Yeah, it's not like I'm a nurse or anything like that. I'm just a regular old person. So I had to inject twice a day for the entire length of the pregnancy. And then also, I can't remember if it was I think it was six months after maybe it was three months after pregnancy, because your body is in this still hypercent state.

Genetic mutation.. is that what we are calling it?

Guest Speaker; Suzy Wood (13:11)

It is a genetic mutation, yeah. And people of European descent are really the ones who are more likely to have it. And again, 5% of Americans. I know you're in Australia, but the statistics that I had looked up quickly before, 5% of European descended Americans have Factor five Leiden, so it's quite common.

There are these conditions out there that we don't know about, we have to tell people, and maybe it can save somebody else's grief

Was it just a blood test they did, to find out?

Guest Speaker; Suzy Wood (16:25)

(Yes) - Just a blood test. But because miscarriage is so common, most people, they have one, and the doctors don't really test for it. At least 20 years ago, it wasn't a common thing to just add to the panel of blood work. I don't know if you face this, but, "you know, oh, I'm so sorry you had a miscarriage, but keep trying".

It's about starting the conversation.. normal people having conversations that should be normal, that should be talked about often, should be talked about more.

Guest Speaker; Suzy Wood (17:09) And actually, we had an interesting story. My father, his secretary was trying to get pregnant and she unfortunately had a miscarriage. And I said, have her tell her doctor about factor five blood and she should get tested. Turns out she has it. An she obviously lost one pregnancy, but she ended up having twins and she was treated. She went to a high risk OBGYN, she went to Hematologist, she took the same medication I took, and she ended up with twins.

Guest Speaker; Suzy Wood (19:21)

It took me a very long time to get over the miscarriage as well. And I felt really ashamed also, maybe embarrassed, like, my body wasn't working. And now I have this condition, like, it's really not working. It was really hard to go through that. And I felt like I was broken and am I ever going to get pregnant again? And then, of course, the worry, because now I'm pregnant and I have to be on this crazy medication and all of that. So there was a lot of stress. But I also remember I didn't feel like there were a lot of resources out there. I mean, maybe it's different now because you can find any group out there online. It was different then. There wasn't as much of a conversation

I'm not saying that everybody would have the same condition. Sometimes you just don't know and you're not going to find out. But maybe it's worth asking a few more questions, like, is there anything else that we can do to see if there's a reason? Because I don't want to go through this again. Right.

You just have to start talking about it. And you bring people together who are in similar situations. They can learn from each other and help support each other when they're going through it. So I love that you're doing this, that you're putting this out there and educating people, bringing it to their attention, all the different things, and just supporting women who have gone through a pregnancy loss because it's hard. It is very hard.

To find out what the random ice breaker question was, you will have to watch the replay.

You can watch the entire conversation with Suzy here - Episode #18, you can check out her website here or you can follow her over on IG here


Factor V Leiden
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If you have any information published by a reliable source, that you would like to add to this list, please let me know by either commenting below or contacting me via email -

As a Virtual Pregnancy Loss Coach, Tayla supports heartbroken loss moms by assisting them to cope with their grief & ease the overwhelm that comes with life after loss. With her lived experience, dry sense of humour, & realistic approach to living a meaningful life after loss, she has earned a world-wide following & a passion unlike any other. Learn more here

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