Becoming pregnant may be an exciting moment in a woman’s life but it can also bring along various health risks. Preeclampsia is a serious complication of pregnancy that often requires premature delivery to prevent serious life-threatening complications both for the mother and for the baby. Consequently, significant health care costs are associated with preeclampsia.
Here are several things you should know about this pregnancy complication:
Who is at Risk?
Preeclampsia affects 2-8% of all women’s pregnancy worldwide. Usually, it occurs after 20 weeks gestation (somewhere in the late 2nd or 3rd trimesters) but can occur up to six weeks postpartum (after delivery). In rare cases, it can occur earlier than 20 weeks. Maintaining proper prenatal care is imperative for the detection of preeclampsia as well as maintaining a healthy pregnancy for mothers. You may be at higher risk for preeclampsia if:
- You’ve had preeclampsia in pregnancies
- Pregnant with twins or multiples
- Suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, or kidney issues
- Family history of the disorder
- Are 35 or older
- Have a BMI of 30 or higher
Preventing Preeclampsia: What works?
One strategy for preventing preeclampsia is the use of low-dose aspirin. Low dose Aspirin (81mg) started after the first trimester has been shown to reduce the risk of preeclampsia in high-risk women. Since not all women who develop preeclampsia have preexisting risk factors the question remains if low dose aspirin benefits even low-risk patients and would it be cost-effective.
A recent study published in the August edition of Obstetrics and Gynecology supports the use of low dose aspirin, even in women who have no risk factors for preeclampsia. While further studies are warranted to directly compare outcomes with universal aspirin versus aspirin treatment restricted to high-risk patients it is reasonable to use low-dose aspirin in those women who would like to initiate such a preventative strategy.
OBGYN Specialist Prenatal Care
Let OBGYN Specialists of Columbus put your mind at ease during your pregnancy. Turn to our knowledgeable obstetric team and trust that Dr. Ruthann Rees will walk you through your pregnancy. Contact our office today if you’re interested in finding out more about our prenatal care services.