Aspirin during pregnancy

Low-dose aspirin could prevent pregnancy complications

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force has released recommendations encouraging women at high risk for developing preeclampsia to take low-dose aspirin in their second trimester to reduce their risk.

Preeclampsia is a condition that usually occurs in the second half of pregnancy and can cause serious complications. It is characterized by high blood pressure, protein in the urine and blood-clotting.

If a woman develops preeclampsia in the second trimester, the baby is often delivered prematurely to avoid maternal complications, like stroke. By taking low-dose aspirin pregnant women can lower their risk of premature birth and fetal growth restriction, a condition in which a baby grows slower than expected in the mother’s womb.

"Low-dose aspirin taken from the first trimester until 34 weeks, appears to improve placental blood flow as well as the structural interface between the placenta and uterine wall," said Dr. James Perry, OB/GYN at Community Physician Network. "While it is not universally successful in preventing preeclampsia or fetal growth restriction, it will prevent about 25 percent of the cases with little risk to the mother or baby."

Women at high risk for preeclampsia include those with a previous history of the problem, women with diabetes, high blood pressure or obesity, and those who are pregnant with more than one baby.

Perry recommends that women discuss their risk for preeclampsia with their doctor in order to determine the right treatment for her.

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