Women who take aspirin during pregnancy are less likely to experience pre-eclampsia, a very serious disorder of pregnancy, say researchers in a report published in The Lancet.
Pre-eclampsia is a rapidly progressive disorder that occurs during pregnancy and the postpartum period and affects both the mother and the unborn baby. It is characterized by high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine, and affects at approximately 5% of all
pregnancies. Women with pre-ecclampsia may notice swelling, sudden weight gain, headaches and changes in vision are important symptoms. Some women, however, report few symptoms. If untreated this condition can cause death to both the mother and baby.
Drugs such as aspirin are often used to help thin the blood in patients with high blood pressure, and the researchers believe that they may play a role in preventing pre-eclampsia.
In a review of trials involving more than 32,000 women and their babies, researchers found the risk of developing pre-eclampsia, premature delivery, and having a pregnancy with severe complications fell by 10% in those women taking aspirin or other blood-thinning drugs.
There was no increased risk of death of the fetus or baby, having a smaller than average sized baby or excess bleeding as a result of taking aspirin.
Based on these findings, women at high risk of developing pre-eclampsia may benefit by taking aspirin, but the potential risks of using a blood-thinning drug must be considered by individual mothers before starting treatment. All pregnant women should visit their doctors on a regular basis to make sure that their pregnancies are progressing smoothly. Assessing for weight gain and evaluating blood pressure is a regular part of a sound antenatal program.
SOURCE: Dr. Susan Sharma via insidermedicine.ca