New research has further backed the link between aspirin and a lower risk of developing preeclampsia, a serious and sometimes fatal pregnancy condition. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that pregnant women more susceptible to this condition could lower their risk by as much as 62 percent by taking a daily aspirin.

While aspirin is already recommended for women at risk for preeclampsia during their pregnancy, this study shows the potential significance of even small changes. The results also suggest that aspirin be taken earlier in the pregnancy and at higher doses than what is currently recommended, The Guardian reported.

Read: Preeclampsia May Be Caused By The Same Misfolded Proteins As Alzheimer's

“This extensive study is definitive proof that women can take simple measures in the first trimester of pregnancy to significantly reduce their chances of developing preterm pre-eclampsia,” said Kypros Nicolaides, lead study author, The Guardian reported.

For the study, the team of researchers from King’s College London looked at the medical records of 26,941 women in the early stages of pregnancy at 13 hospitals in Europe and Israel. The team looked especially at women who were at increased risk for developing preeclampsia during their pregnancy. For example, according to the Preeclampsia Foundation, risk factors for preeclampsia include having a previous history of the condition, being pregnant with more than one baby, a first pregnancy, and being obese.

Of the 1,776 women found to be at increased risk for preeclampsia, half were given a daily placebo and half were given a daily 150 mg dose of aspirin. Results revealed that only 13 of the women in the aspirin group developed preeclampsia, compared to 35 in the placebo group. In addition, the most severe form of preeclampsia, which leads to premature birth, occurred in only three women in the aspirin group, and 15 in the placebo group.

Preeclampsia is a complication characterized by heightened blood pressure around the 20th week of pregnancy. Common symptoms include headaches, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, and confusion. While most women do recover from the condition, in extreme cases it can threaten the life of both the mother and child.

The results suggest doctors should better screen for preeclampsia risk during pregnancy to get this preventative treatment to mothers who may need it the most.

“I hope that [these findings] will alter clinical practice and improve pregnancy outcomes for mothers and their babies,” added David Wright, another researcher involved in the study, The Guardian reported.

Source: Rolnik DL, Wright D, Poon LC, et al. Aspirin versus Placebo in Pregnancies at High Risk for Preterm Preeclampsia. The New England Journal of Medicine . 2017

See Also:

Preeclampsia Diagnosis Could Happen In Seconds, Thanks To A New, Simple Test

Air Pollution Increases Preeclampsia Risk in Pregnant Women