Low-dose aspirin can benefit a small subset of pregnant women to prevent the potentially life-threatening complication called pre-eclampsia, said US health authorities on Tuesday.
Women with diabetes, chronic hypertension, those carrying multiple fetuses or who have a history of pre-eclampsia in prior pregnancies could benefit from starting a regimen of low-dose aspirin after their first trimester, said the US Preventive Services Task Force.
"Low-dose aspirin (range, 50 to 160 mg/day) reduced the risk for pre-eclampsia by 24 percent in clinical trials," said a USPTF statement.
Daily low-dose aspirin "also reduced the risk for preterm birth by 14 percent" and cut the risk by 20 percent of a complication that makes delays babies' growth.
The use of low dose aspirin appeared to cause no short-term harm in 19 randomized controlled trials analyzed.
The recommendations only apply to women at high risk of pre-eclampsia, a condition which affects between two and eight percent of pregnancies worldwide.
Pre-eclampsia is blamed for about 15 percent of all preterm births, and can be fatal to the mother and child.
The syndrome is marked by a sudden increase in a pregnant women's blood pressure after 20 weeks gestation, and can affect the woman's kidneys, liver and brain.
The recommendations were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.