The widespread practice of giving aspirin to pregnant woman to prevent dangerously high blood pressure called preeclampsia doesn't work, a large study has found. Preeclampsia afflicts about 5% of pregnant women and can be fatal to both mother and child. The research, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, means there is no accepted way of preventing the problem.
The new study was conducted on 2,503 pregnant women considered at high risk because they were having twins or triplets, already had high blood pressure or diabetes or had an earlier pregnancy with preeclampsia. About 20% got preeclampsia, whether or not they took aspirin, according to researchers from Magee-Women's Hospital in Pittsburgh.
Compiled by Times medical writer Thomas H. Maugh II