Low-dose aspirin has long been known for its blood-thinning properties. During pregnancy, for some women, this can be a low-risk preventative measure. New research shows that the blood-thinning properties in low-dose aspirin can thwart another pregnancy complication – pre-eclampsia.

Pre-eclampsia is a condition characterized by high blood pressure and elevated protein levels in the urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The cause of pre-eclampsia remains unknown, according to the American Congress of OBs/GYNs.

How often does pre-eclampsia affect women?

Pre-eclampsia affects as many as 8% of all pregnancies worldwide, and about 4% of women in the US develop the condition.  In the US, it is responsible for approximately 15% of all pre-term births.

Women with the greatest risk for pre-eclampsia are those who have had the condition during a previous pregnancy, especially those who had complications from it.  In addition, women pregnant with twins, or any multiples, as well as women with chronic high blood pressure, type-1 or type-2 diabetes, kidney disease or any autoimmune disease, should consider a daily low-dose aspirin regimen.

Women at risk for pre-eclampsia who took low-dose aspirin every day after the first trimester lowered their risk of the high blood pressure complication by 24%, and lowered their risk for pre-term birth by 14%.

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