Aspirin at bedtime '˜can slash risk during pregnancy'
Doctors discovered that 150mg of aspirin led to a 62 per cent reduction in the rate of pre-term pre-eclampsia, resulting in a delivery before 37 weeks.
A trial of 1,776 women at high risk for pre-term pre-eclampsia found a lower incidence of developing the disease in women taking aspirin than those taking a placebo.
The pregnant women were given a dose of 150mg per day from between 11 to 14 weeks of pregnancy up until 36 weeks.
The results have prompted calls for low-dose aspirin to be routinely prescribed to women at risk of the disease.
Professor Kypros Nicolaides of King’s College London, said: “This extensive study is definitive proof that women can take simple measures in the first trimester of pregnancy to significantly reduce their chances of developing pre-term pre-eclampsia.”
Prof David Wright from the University of Exeter added: “Over the last 10 years, we have developed new methods for assessing the risk of pre-eclampsia. The results show that aspirin can prevent pre-eclampsia in high risk pregnancies.”
The study is the latest in a series of trials which have demonstrated the positive impact of taking low-dose aspirin.
Pre-eclampsia can cause premature birth and, in extreme cases, maternal and foetal death.
It causes the flow of blood through the placenta to be reduced, restricting the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the foetus which could restrict growth.
A family history of the condition, obesity, diabetes or high blood pressure increases the chance of developing the condition. It is estimated that the disease causes 76,000 maternal and 500,000 infant deaths each year.