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Pregnancy Problems

During pregnancy, your health is number one priority. That’s why we went straight to top pregnancy health experts for all the details you want to know about the most common pregnancy problems. In our pregnancy problems guide, you can read about a slew of pregnancy conditions – everything from hemorrhoids to gestational diabetes. Find out what any pregnancy symptom could possibly mean (are you swollen just because you’re expecting, or is it a sign of some complication?) and find out whether or not it’s worth a call to your OB. If you already know you’ve got a pregnancy complication or health condition, our comprehensive articles will give you the scoop on its causes and how it can affect you and baby. Plus, get treatment tips straight from medical experts and pregnant women like you. Yup, we've got answers to all your questions about pregnancy health problems right here!

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What Is a MTHFR Mutation?

My doctor says I have a MTHFR mutation. What does that mean?

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My doctor says I have a MTHFR mutation. What does that mean?

The Bump Expert

Any medical term abbreviated with this many letters is bound to be complicated, and this one is no exception. MTHFR stands for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. It’s an enzyme that plays a role in producing certain amino acids (the building blocks of protein), and is especially vital for converting the amino acid homocysteine into another amino acid, called methionine.

Why is this important? In women who have this mutation, or trouble with the gene that regulates MTHFR production, too much homocysteine can build up in the blood, which can eventually lead to blood clots. These clots are dangerous at any time, but especially in pregnancy, since small clots can form between the uterus and placenta or between the placenta and the baby, leading growth restriction, low fluid levels and other potentially dangerous conditions, including miscarriage.

A MTHFR mutation is relatively rare, and even if you do test positive for the condition, you also have to produce elevated homocystine levels in order to trigger these complications. If you have a family history of blood clots or have suffered from multiple miscarriages, speak with your doctor, who can help you work out a treatment for this condition.

Plus, more from The Bump:

HELLP Syndrome

How to Handle Braxton Hicks Contractions

Subtle Signs of Preeclampsia

Melissa M. Goist, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, The Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio