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Tuesday 25th October 2016

Aspirin during pregnancy could prevent pre-eclampsia

25th August 2010

New guidance for the NHS says that a small dose of aspirin in pregnancy can help prevent high blood pressure complications.


The advice for England and Wales from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) says that women at risk of high blood pressure in pregnancy – which is linked to pre-eclampsia - need aspirin from the 12th week of pregnancy until the birth of the child.

Figures show that some 5% of mums develop the condition, which is a significant cause of maternal death in the UK.

With woman delaying pregnancy, or being overweight when they become pregnant, midwives fear that pre-eclampsia could become more common.

High blood pressure in pregnancy can also lead to premature birth, stillbirth and babies being smaller than average.

Fergus Macbeth, director of the centre for clinical practice at NICE, said: "Hypertension, or high blood pressure, can be fairly common and can develop at any time during pregnancy. If not properly managed, it can cause serious health problems.

"That's why it's important that women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy and who have either been diagnosed or identified as being at risk of developing a form of hypertension, receive a consistent, high standard of antenatal and postnatal care to prevent problems occurring."

Low-dose (75mg) aspirin is not routinely given to pregnant women but NICE hopes the advice will ensure consistent standards across the country.

The charity Action on Pre-eclampsia said the guidance would reassure women that it was OK to take aspirin for high blood pressure if needed during pregnancy.


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