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Aspirin makes pregnancy safer for some women

Aspirin may protect against pregnancy complications like pre-eclampsia, research suggests.

The large review of 31 studies involving more than 32,000 women found that those who took a low-dose tablet of aspirin a day to prevent blood clotting had a 10% reduced rate of complications such as very premature delivery.

Doctors say the findings are encouraging, but caution that aspirin appears to slightly increase the risk of haemorrhage following delivery.

For this reason, experts say aspirin might benefit only a small subset of women, such as those who suffered pre-eclampsia in previous pregnancies.

Pre-eclampsia complicates up to 8% of pregnancies and can prove fatal to mother and baby – around 75,000 maternal deaths per year are linked to the disorder. It is characterised by an increase in blood pressure and excessive amounts of protein in the mother’s urine.
Conflicting evidence

Previous studies have offered conflicting evidence as to whether aspirin can protect against pre-eclampsia.

Lisa Askie at the University of Sydney in Australia and colleagues analysed the data from 31 previous studies and found that the risks of a complications, including pre-eclampsia and delivering before 34 weeks, decreased by 10% in those subjects who took the equivalent of one baby aspirin a day (50-150 mg).

Askie believes anti-clotting drugs protect pregnant women by reducing inflammation or preventing blood clots from forming.

“Whilst the benefits of anti-clotting therapy are modest, they are important as, if given to women at risk of pre-eclampsia they could potentially result in many thousands less women who experience a bad pregnancy outcome,” says Askie.

“Particularly for women at high risk of pre-eclampsia, a more widespread use of anti-platelet [anti-clotting] agents may be worthwhile,” she adds.
Obesity link

James Roberts at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US, notes that the new review did not pinpoint a specific group of women that benefited most from aspirin.

Still, he stresses that the drug is probably most appropriate for those who are at greatest risk of pre-eclampsia – such as women who are obese or have had this disorder during previous pregnancies.

Women should consult a physician before choosing to take aspirin while pregnant, Roberts adds.

Journal reference: Lancet (DOI:10.1016/ S0140-6736( 07)60712- 0)

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Written by wijoseno

June 7, 2007 at 3:46 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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