Women who receive aspirin during pregnancy are at lower risk of pre-eclampsia a pregnancy complication, revealed by researchers from Australia and the UK.
The study is published early online and in an upcoming edition of The Lancet.
The potential risks of aspirin use must be considered by individual mothers before embarking on treatment, and should be guided by their obstetrician and the doctor.
Pre-eclampsia is said to be present when hypertension arises in pregnancy (pregnancy-induced hypertension) in association with significant protein in the urine.
Dr Lisa Askie, University of Sydney, Australia, with funding from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, along with colleagues from Australia and the UK, formed the Perinatal Antiplatelet Review of International Studies (PARIS) collaborative group and did a meta-analysis (a study which combines the results of previous trials) on more than 32 000 women and their babies.
They found that the risks of developing pre-eclampsia, of delivering before 34 weeks and of having a pregnancy with a severe adverse outcome all fell by 10% in those women taking aspirin or other antiplatelet drugs.
Aspirin was found to have no significant effect on the risk of death of the fetus or baby, having a small for gestational age infant, or bleeding events for either the women or their babies. No particular subgroup of women was substantially more or less likely to benefit from aspirin than any other.
“Our data show that antiplatelet agents produce moderate but consistent reductions in pre-eclampsia and its consequences. This information should be discussed with women at risk of pre-eclampsia to help them make informed choices about their antenatal care” concluded author.