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Aspirin Advised for Some Pregnant Women

Low daily dose helps protect against preeclampsia, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says
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LeFevre said women at high risk of preeclampsia include those in the following categories:

  • have had preeclampsia in previous pregnancies,
  • have high blood pressure or diabetes prior to pregnancy,
  • are having twins, triplets or even more in a multi-birth pregnancy.

A doctor also might recommend daily aspirin use in women who have a combination of two or more moderate risk factors, LeFevre said. These include women who are:

  • having their first baby,
  • obese,
  • older than 35 or black.

Daily low-dose aspirin use reduced the risk of preterm birth by 14 percent and of slow fetal growth by 20 percent, according to the new review of the latest medical data. And it led to a 24 percent reduction in the overall occurrence of preeclampsia, the review found.

In addition, there's no evidence of potential harm in daily low-dose aspirin use for pregnant women at high risk of preeclampsia, study author Henderson said.

However, any expectant mother should consult with her doctor before beginning a daily aspirin regimen, LeFevre added.

"We certainly don't want women to go out and start taking low-dose aspirin without talking with their prenatal provider about whether they are at high enough risk to begin taking aspirin," he said. "This is not something women should do on their own. This is something they should do in consultation with their health care provider."

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is an independent, volunteer panel of national experts that makes evidence-based recommendations about preventive medical services such as health screenings, counseling and medications.

The draft recommendation on aspirin treatment for preeclampsia has been posted for public comment at www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org. Comments can be submitted from April 8 to May 5.

Henderson said the new review echoes earlier research and evidence reviews that have supported low-dose aspirin to prevent preeclampsia in high-risk mothers.

"It's not a big difference from what's been found earlier," she said.

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