While healthy pregnant women are normally warned off all medications to prevent any harm to their developing baby, some should consider taking a daily baby aspirin after their first trimester if they’re at increased risk of developing preecamplsia, a dangerous condition related to high blood pressure. That proposed recommendation was issued on Monday by the US Preventive Services Task Force, a government-sponsored panel of prevention experts.
It’s based on a review of the latest studies showing that high-risk pregnant women who took a daily low-dose aspirin—50 milligrams to 160 milligrams a day—had a 24 percent lower risk of developing preeclampsia during their pregnancy. Women at increased risk include those who had preeclampsia, placental problems, fetal growth restrictions or fetal death in previous pregnancies; those with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, chronic hypertension, kidney disease, or certain autoimmune diseases are also at increased risk.
Other medical groups including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Heart Association also recommend low-dose aspirin therapy in high-risk pregnant women. Preeclampsia affects about 5 percent of pregnant women and can result in preterm delivery, severe hypertension, stroke, and seizures—even death of the mother in rare cases.
“Only a small percentage of pregnant women are at high risk for preeclampsia,” Task Force chair Dr. Michael L. LeFevre said in a statement. “Before taking aspirin, pregnant women should talk to their doctor or nurse to determine their risk and discuss if taking aspirin is right for them.”