Aspirin in pregnancy 'cuts pre-eclampsia'

Low-dose aspirin in pregnancy could be a way of reducing the risk of pre-eclampsia in women at high risk, claim Australian researchers.

The findings come from a meta-analysis of 31 trials, which included more than 32,000 women and their babies.

It showed that the risks of developing pre-eclampsia, delivering before 34 weeks or having a pregnancy with a severe adverse outcome were reduced by 10 per cent in women taking aspirin or other antiplatelet drugs.

Women taking aspirin during pregnancy took a low dose, using 75mg or 150mg daily.

Aspirin had no significant effect on the risk of death of the foetus or infant, baby birth weight or bleeding events in mother or baby, said the researchers.

Dr Sarah Jarvis, RCGP spokeswoman on women's health, said: 'We're always terribly wary of any drug in pregnancy, but we do have to bear in mind that when pre-eclampsia occurs it can be devastating.

'We tend to think of aspirin as being contraindicated in pregnancy, but it's only contraindicated in the third trimester.'

Nevertheless, GPs should dis-cuss the risks and benefits of low-dose aspirin use in pregnant women who want it as a prophylactic for pre-eclampsia, added Dr Jarvis.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists advised caution.

'The decision on whether to take it in pregnancy should be made following discussion between the woman and her obstetrician,' said a spokesman.

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