The Simple Way You Can Prevent Preeclampsia

If you haven't heard of preeclampsia yet, that's probably a good thing—meaning you've managed to bypass this pregnancy complication. But it is a condition that all pregnant women should be aware of. 

According to the Preeclampsia Foundation, preeclampsia is a condition that affects between 5–8% of all pregnancies and is a leading cause of both maternal and infant death worldwide. Although the risk is somewhat lower in the United States, the disorder is also on the rise; doctors speculate that the rising ages of U.S. mothers and increasing numbers of IVF pregnancies, both of which are risk factors of preeclampsia, may be part of the troubling increase. 

Preeclampsia is characterized by high blood pressure (anything over 140/90) and other symptoms, such as protein in the urine, vision changes, and laboratory value changes in a woman's body. It's a condition that occurs during pregnancy and, rarely, immediately postpartum, and the most effective “treatment” for it is the delivery of the baby. Preeclampsia is very severe and can affect nearly every vital organ in a mother's body, and even lead to death for her and her baby. 

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One of the most troubling aspects of preeclampsia is its reoccurrence rate. Women who have had preeclampsia with previous pregnancies can have as much as double the risk of having the disorder with subsequent pregnancies. 

But now, new research is supporting the guidelines recommended by some doctors to help prevent preeclampsia in women who are pregnant again. 

And the solution?

Seems relatively simple. 

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Image via Flickr/ Schjelderup

A single, 81-milligram dose of baby aspirin. 

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 The American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists' (ACOG) task force on preeclampsia and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (high blood-pressure disorders) guidelines indicate “daily low-dose aspirin to help prevent preeclampsia is suggested in very high-risk women with a history of preeclampsia and preterm delivery.”

According to the guidelines, “high-risk women” include those who:

  • have had preeclampsia in previous pregnancies,
  • have high blood pressure or diabetes prior to pregnancy,
  • are having twins, triplets, or even more in a multi-birth pregnancy,
  • and those who have potentially two or more moderate risk factors including: a first pregnancy, obesity, aged over 35, and/or black.

The latest review of the guidelines reduced the risk of preterm birth by 14% and of slow fetal growth by 20% and led to a 24% reduction in the overall occurrence of preeclampsia.

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Did you experience preeclampsia with any of your pregnancies?

What do you think?

The Simple Way You Can Prevent Preeclampsia

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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6 comments

  1. Christina says:

    The title of this article is misleading. I had preeclampsia with my first daughter and she was born at 28 weeks weighing 1lb 15oz. I saw the title of the article and thought, “What kind of advice could this be promoting?” I did have another pregnancy which went to term and I was on baby aspirin but that was at the advice of my high risk doctor. The article states that the aspirin can help women who are high risk or who have previously had preeclampsia but it doesn’t say anything about talking to a doctor before starting an aspirin regimen while pregnant. Also the title is “The Simple Way You Can Prevent Preeclampsia”. There is no way to guarantee you “can” prevent it. A lot of the article titles on this site are misleading and I’ve always just let it go by but this hit close to home and really bothered me.

  2. Jenn says:

    I had preeclampsia with both of my pregnancies. With my first severe pre-e came on practically overnight, and I delivered at 35 weeks via emergency c section. My bp didn’t return to normal until 6 weeks PP. I took low dose aspirin with my second pregnancy, developed chronic hypertension at 15 weeks, and made it to my scheduled VBAC at 39 weeks with the help of bp meds. Although I didn’t have severe pre-e with my 2nd I still ended up back in the hospital 4 days later with superimposed pre-e that didn’t normalize until 7 months PP. The low dose aspirin didn’t prevent me from developing pre-e, but it may very well have reduced the severity. Then again repeat cases of pre-e often aren’t as severe as the first anyway.

  3. tigertayl says:

    It’s a condition that only occurs during pregnancy, and the only real “treatment” for it is the delivery of the baby.

    This is extremely misleading, as post partum preeclampsia can occur.

    • Chasity says:

      You are confusing preeclampsia with eclampsia. Eclampsia is rise f blood pressure after baby has been delivered.

      • Lauren says:

        Christina, I’m so sorry you had to go through that heartbreaking experience. Chasity, preeclampsia is is characterized by hypertension after 20 weeks gestation and protein in the urine, whereas eclampsia is the presence of hypertension, protein in the urine, and seizures. Some research shows that giving your male partner oral sex can decrease the risk of preeclampsia

        • Lmao !! I can assure you Lauren oral sex on a man doesn’t have any effect. If that was the case I wouldn’t have had pre e because there was plenty of that going on. Invalid and irrelevant. Sorry.

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