Prescribing aspirin could be the key to preventing pre-eclampsia, says UCD study
Prescribing aspirin to women in early pregnancy could help to prevent them developing pre-eclampsia, a new study has shown.
The common household painkiller could be crucial in the battle against the condition, which is one of the biggest causes of maternal death and infant mortality worldwide.
In Ireland, pre-eclampsia is typically detected after a pregnant women show early signs of the condition.
This might not offer mothers and babies the best outcome, researchers at University College Dublin have said.
In a study of 546 pregnant women across two Dublin maternity hospitals, they found that women are willing to take a low daily dose of aspirin from early in their pregnancy to help reduce their chances of having pre-eclampsia.
It is "widely accepted" that aspirin "can significantly reduce the early onset of preeclampsia", they added, so the fact that women are up for taking this preventative step is encouraging.
Pre-eclampsia a serious complication in the placenta that usually occurs after the 20-wek mark. Its symptoms include high blood pressure in the mother, fluid retention, and protein in her urine.
It can lead to problems of the liver, kidneys, brain and clotting system in the mother and growth problems and premature birth in the baby.
The condition affects one in ten first-time pregnancies, while severe cases of the condition occur in about 1-2 percent of pregnancies.
Complications caused by the condition cost the HSE over €9 million every year.
Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Fiona McAuliffe from the UCD School of Medicine has called for a further, widespread trial to test how efficient and safe prescribing aspirin in pregnancy would be.