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Aspirin may help protect against certain pregnancy complications

For those readers that regard aspirin as a miracle drug, today's story may provide one more example in support of their convictions.

According to a published draft recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, taking low-dose aspirin during pregnancy may reduce the chance of preeclampsia. Specifically, the panel found that a daily dosage might lower the risk of preeclampsia by 24 percent. Accordingly, they recommend doctors prescribe a daily aspirin dosage of 81 milligrams after 12 weeks of pregnancy. In addition, the daily aspirin regime might also lower the risk of pre-term birth by 14 percent, and help protect against intrauterine growth restriction.

The Mayo Clinic defines preeclampsia as a pregnancy condition involving excess protein in the urine and high blood pressure. Each year, around 7 million pregnant women are affected by this potentially dangerous disorder. The condition usually manifests after 20 weeks of pregnancy. If undiagnosed, the condition may lead to complications during the labor and delivery process.

Unfortunately, the symptoms may not always be overt, perhaps involving just a slight increase in a pregnant woman's blood pressure. Other symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic, may not be unique to preeclampsia, such as headaches, sudden weight gain, nausea, decreased urine output, upper abdominal pain, and swelling or edema in the face and hands. However, women with a history of kidney disease, diabetes, hypertension or a prior case of preeclampsia may be more at risk.

With the proper care and monitoring, pregnant women may be able to avoid a birth injury. If an injury is believed to be the result of a doctor's failure to monitor changes in the mother and unborn baby, a consultation with a medical malpractice attorney might be a good way to start the investigation.

Source:  CBS News, "Aspirin may prevent preeclampsia in pregnant women," Jessica Firger, April 7, 2014

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