Sunday, May 27, 2012

Treatment Options: Low-Dose Aspirin

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. This is provided for information only. Please consult your health care provider to discuss the treatment option(s) that are right for your specific case.

So far we've discussed bedrest and exercise. I'm still working on nutrition, which will be covered in several posts this week. Today I want to focus on low-dose aspirin and other anticoagulants.

Preeclampsia is associated with changes in the way a woman's blood clots. One theory that has emerged is that blood thinners could counteract these changes and prevent PE. Several studies were done on aspirin in pregnancy during the 1980s and 1990s.

This review of multiple studies, explained in more understandable terms in this article, did find a small but real reduction in preeclampsia rates when women at high risk took low-dose aspirin. It is important to note that it doesn't help everyone. So far, researchers have not found a way to determine which high-risk women will benefit and which will not. This study found further reduction of risk (though still not large) when low-dose aspirin was paired with low molecular weight heparin, a prescription blood thinner.

This article points out there are risks involved with low-dose aspirin as well, although those risks are small, and questions whether it is worth giving it to so many women who won't benefit from it just to save the few who do.

Aspirin therapy is not currently recommended to the general population of pregnant women, but for those who have a history of severe PE and/or have multiple risk factors, it is worth discussing with your doctor if it is a reasonable option.

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