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Prevent Preeclampsia with Low-Dose Aspirin
- Updated: September 9, 2014
Recently, medical experts from the United States Preventative Task Force (USPTF) made a recommendation to women considered at high risk for developing a very dangerous condition while pregnant called Preeclampsia. According to the panel, low-dose aspirin taken after 12 weeks of pregnancy can reduce risk.
Risk of Preeclampsia
Preeclampsia is something seen in 8% of all pregnancies, with about 4% of those being women from the United States. It has also been found that up to 12% of all maternal deaths in the United States are caused by this condition but also responsible for up to 15% of premature births. According to experts, women pregnant with twins or multiples are at risk for developing preeclampsia but in addition, those with a history of:
• Autoimmune Disease (Scleroderma, Lupus)
• Kidney Disease
• High Blood Pressure
Significant Risk Reduction
In a new 12-week study, researchers discovered that risk of preeclampsia can be reduced by 24% for women who take low-dose aspirin, again after the first trimester. In addition to preeclampsia, experts found that risk associated with other health-related problems declined as well. Risk of preterm births was lowered by 14% and stunted growth of fetuses by 20%.
Information gathered from this study can be found in the latest online issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. Medical professionals know the risk factors and symptoms associated with preeclampsia yet the exact cause remains a mystery although some believe it has a connection to an immunologic origin.
Using low-dose aspirin to reduce risk of preeclampsia has been a focus of the USPTF for almost 20 years but until data from this new study was released, evidence was not definitive. Now, experts suggest after the first trimester of pregnancy, women take 81 milligrams of aspirin a day to reduce risk of this disorder. However, there are some women who should avoid aspirin to include those with bleeding gastric ulcers.
According to Dr. Jennifer Wu, an OB/GYN physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, preeclampsia is a leading cause of maternal mortality and premature delivery. Because there is not real tool available to accurately predict which pregnant women will develop this condition, using aspirin as a preventative measure is big news.
Wu goes on to suggest that women after the first trimester of pregnancy and in both moderate and high risk ranges for developing preeclampsia should take low-dose aspirin daily. Currently, the exact reason that aspirin is beneficial also remains unclear but what is obvious is that there are more benefits than risks.