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Aspirin backed during pregnancy

Pregnant women with, or at risk of, high blood pressure could be helped by a daily dose of aspirin, NICE has claimed.

Expectant mothers with the condition are known to face a heightened risk of pre-eclampsia, which about 5% of first-time mothers develop.

A small number of women have high blood pressure when they become pregnant, while 10-15% develop it during their pregnancy.

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.

Aspirin is not routinely given to pregnant women and NICE hopes the advice will ensure consistent standards across the country.

Fergus Macbeth, Director of the Centre for Clinical Practice at NICE, said: "It's important that women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy and who have either been diagnosed or identified as being at risk of developing a form of hypertension, receive a consistent, high standard of antenatal and postnatal care to prevent problems occurring."

Gail Johnson, Education and Professional Development Advisor at the Royal College of Midwives, said: "Midwives are seeing an increase in maternal obesity and older women becoming pregnant; this means that midwives and doctors are seeing more women at risk of, or with hypertensive disorders.

"The guideline will provide professionals with recommended pathways and treatment options to help to minimize the health risks associated with a raised blood pressure."

Copyright © Press Association 2010

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

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"I think it is  a new breakthrough and reading this article it will help pregnant women to reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia" - Angela Morrison, Birmingham