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Pregnant women with, or at risk of, high blood pressure could benefit from a daily dose of aspirin, the UK health watchdog has said.
High blood pressure in pregnancy is linked to several potentially dangerous complications, including the condition pre-eclampsia.
Figures show between 10–15% of pregnant women suffer high blood pressure during their pregnancy, while up to 5% of first-time mothers develop pre-eclampsia.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommended that women with high blood pressure at moderate to high risk of pre-eclampsia take a low dose (75mg) of aspirin.
It should be taken every day from the 12th week of pregnancy until birth, according to the guidelines for the NHS in England and Wales. Aspirin is not routinely given to pregnant women and NICE hopes the advice will ensure consistent standards across the country.
The guidelines also warn against prescribing angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), which can increase the risk of congenital abnormalities if taken during pregnancy.