NHS watchdog, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), has issued new guidelines about using aspirin to treat high blood pressure in pregnancy. High blood pressure can lead to pre-eclampsia which is a serious medical condition during pregnancy and is the leading cause of maternal death in the UK.
Many mums-to-be are reluctant to take any medications in pregnancy and even low-dose (75mg) aspirin is not routinely given to pregnant women. However, the NICE guidelines now recommend that aspirin should be taken to treat pre-eclampsia if you or your baby is put at risk by the condition.
The NHS insists that it is only at-risk pregnancies that need treating with asprin from the 12th week onwards but cases of pre-eclampsia are rising as women leave pregnancy until later in life and are more likely to be overweight.
“Hypertension, or high blood pressure, can be fairly common and can develop at any time during pregnancy. If not properly managed it can cause serious health problems,” said Fergus Macbeth from NICE. “That is why it’s important that women identified as being at risk of developing a form of hypertension (high blood pressure) receive a consistent, high standard of antenatal and postnatal care to prevent problems occurring.”
Dr Margaret Macdonald, from the charity, Action on Pre-eclampsia added, “This guidance is a reassurance that it is OK to take aspirin for high blood pressure if you need to.”
If you’re concerned find out more about pre-eclampsia and its symptoms.