An Aspirin a Day… Keeps Pre-eclampsia Away?

The first time I met my new obstetrician, she made a surprising change to my care regimen. She put me on 75mg of aspirin daily. That’s right, the little old lady dose of aspirin, intended to reduce the risk of blood clots and so reduce the risk of things like heart attacks and strokes. Although I am at slightly increased risk of blood clots, that isn’t why she wanted me to start taking it as soon as possible. It has far more to do with the fact that, thanks to a combination of pre-existing borderline hypertension, diabetes and a family history of pre-eclampsia, plus the fact that this is my first pregnancy, I’m at a very increased risk of developing pregnancy induced hypertension and/or pre-eclampsia.

Pre-eclampsia scares me. My reference point is my own mother, who was hospitalised with it by 30 weeks in her own first pregnancy with my brother. Although both he and she were eventually fine, she did end up having an emergency caesarean section under general anaesthesia. Weeks of hospitalisation and a GA surgical delivery are not on my pregnancy to-do list, never mind the fact that pre-eclampsia can sometimes have an even less positive outcome that really doesn’t bear thinking about.

So I was instantly intrigued by the recommendation to start popping such a tiny little tablet in an effort to avoid all of those things. Although it had never been mentioned to me before, it turns out that there has been guidance in place since last summer recommending that women with risk factors such as myself take this daily aspirin dose. There appears to be enough good quality evidence of benefit, with a low risk, for this to be a standard treatment.

Of course, I made the mistake of Googling for the evidence and then, stupidly, the risks. And the phrase placental abruption kept coming up.

But pre-eclampsia still scares me. And for better or worse I trust the experts who formulated the NICE Guidance, and my new obstetrician. So amongst all my other medication is now a once a day tiny white tablet.

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