In any pregnancy, concerns can arise. The onset of preeclampsia can emerge as a significant, and valid, concern. Taking low-dose aspirin daily, is an effective measure that may help reduce your risk of serious pregnancy complications, including preeclampsia. Exploring the proactive and preventative measures for preventing preeclampsia is crucial to protect the well-being of you and your baby.
What is Preeclampsia?
Preeclampsia is when you have high blood pressure and may indicate that some of your organs, such as your kidneys or liver, may not be working properly. It can occur after the 20th week of pregnancy or after birth– known as postpartum preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia is common worldwide and in the United States, it affects five to eight percent of pregnancies. Most people who develop preeclampsia still have healthy babies. However, if left untreated, it can cause serious health problems for you and your baby.
Symptoms and Risks of Preeclampsia
There are several different signs and symptoms of preeclampsia. Often, they are similar to normal discomforts of pregnancy. However, if you experience one or more of these symptoms, reach out to your provider. It is best to be overcautious. Symptoms include:
- High blood pressure
- Protein in urine
- Severe, unending headaches
- Nausea, vomiting, or dizziness
- Upper abdominal pain
- Blurred vision
- Trouble breathing
Additionally, there are several factors that may put you at increased risk for developing preeclampsia. If you have any of the following risk factors, consult your provider. Risks include:
- Previous preeclampsia
- Pregnant with multiples
- High blood pressure, kidney issues, diabetes, or autoimmune diseases
- Sister or mother had preeclampsia
- Never had a baby or haven’t in over 10 years
- Complications in previous pregnancy
- If you are 35 years or older
With this, African-Americans and those affected by low income are more likely to have preeclampsia than others. This is due to historic health disparities that prevent these groups from accessing quality health care and treatment to prevent illness.
Low-Dose Aspirin for Preventing Preeclampsia
Taking low-dose aspirin daily has been shown to help reduce your risk for developing serious pregnancy complications, namely preeclampsia. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine recommend that those at risk for preeclampsia begin taking 81-mg aspirin daily, beginning between 12 and 28 weeks of gestation. This daily dose of low-dose aspirin, also known as baby aspirin, can help prevent or delay the onset of preeclampsia.
Low-dose aspirin is available over-the-counter or your provider can prescribe it. Talk to your provider about all of your risks for preeclampsia to see if low-dose aspirin is right for you.