Can aspirin prevent preeclampsia?
Taking low-dose “baby” aspirin during pregnancy may prevent preeclampsia, according to new findings from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
After reviewing the latest medical data, the Task Force recommends doctors prescribe women at high risk for preeclampsia 81 milligrams of aspirin per day, starting after 12 weeks of pregnancy.
In expectant mothers, preeclampsia results in high blood pressure and increased levels of protein in the urine. In some severe cases, it can lead to eclampsia (seizures) and an increased risk of death.
Preeclampsia is one of the leading causes of health complications for expectant mothers and their babies, affecting about four percent of all U.S. pregnancies, according to Task Force member Jessica Herzstein, M.D., M.P.H.
“The good news is that pregnant women who are at high risk for developing preeclampsia can take a low dosage of aspirin daily to help to prevent the condition,” Dr. Herzstein said in a news release. “This can result in better health outcomes for both the mother and the baby.”
The panel found that daily low-dose aspirin use can lead to a 24 percent reduction in the overall occurrence of preeclampsia, in additional to reducing the risk of preterm birth by 14 percent and of slow fetal growth by 20 percent.
Furthermore, the Task Force found no evidence of potential harm in daily low-dose aspirin use for expectant mothers at high risk of preeclampsia, which includes women with diabetes, high blood pressure or obesity and those with immune disorders or who are pregnant with more than one baby.
However, expectant mothers should still consult with their physicians before beginning a daily aspirin regimen, says Dr. Robert Rosenberg, medical director of obstetrics and gynecology at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill.
“Though various studies suggest aspirin is safe in low doses during pregnancies, it is still a drug,” Dr. Rosenberg said. “Talk with your doctor first to make sure it’s right for you.”
To view the Task Force’s recommendation on aspirin treatment for preeclampsia in its entirety, please visit www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org.
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