Can I lower my risk of preeclampsia?

Unfortunately, there’s no consensus on what causes preeclampsia. Because of this, it’s impossible to avoid the risk entirely. We know that high blood pressure, a history of diabetes, and obesity, among others, are risk factors for developing preeclampsia, but once pregnant, we don’t have many good ways to help prevent the condition.

However, new research is always emerging, and healthcare providers have honed in on one preventive treatment in particular: a low-dose aspirin regimen. Both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the U.S. Preventive Task Force recommend that women who are at high risk of preeclampsia take a low dose of aspirin (81mg per day) to help prevent the condition. 

According to the U.S. Preventive Task Force, women who may be candidates for low-dose aspirin treatment include those who:

  • Have a history of preeclampsia in past pregnancies
  • Are pregnant with twins or higher-order multiples
  • Suffer from chronic hypertension
  • Are diabetic
  • Have been diagnosed with a kidney or autoimmune disease

If any of these apply to you, it can be a good idea to speak with your healthcare provider about starting a low-dose aspirin regimen. It’s always best to speak to your healthcare provider about any medication you take during pregnancy, so having a conversation with her or him is a great way to get started.

Although an aspirin regimen may help prevent preeclampsia, there’s no vaccination, or other sure-fire way to prevent it. Know the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia, like high blood pressure, rapid swelling or weight gain, and vision changes, and speak to your healthcare provider if you feel concerned.


Sources
  • “Practical Advisory on Low-Dose Aspirin and Prevention of Preeclampsia: Updated Recommendations.” ACOG. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Jul 11 2016. Web.
  • “Preeclampsia FAQs.” Preeclampsia. Preeclampsia Foundation, Dec 2013. Web.
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