Pregnant women who take low dose of aspirin daily during the first trimester have a fewer chance of developing pre-eclampsia – a condition that can cause premature birth, maternal and foetal death, says a study. Pre-eclampsia is a potentially dangerous pregnancy complication characterised by high blood pressure, swollen feet, ankles and face and severe headaches. As per the findings, women who took low-dose aspirin (150 mg) in their first trimester of pregnancy showed a 62 per cent decrease in the rate of pre-term pre-eclampsia that results in delivery before 37 weeks. The findings also showed the more severe form of pre-eclampsia, that causes premature birth before 34 weeks, was reduced by 82 per cent as a result of aspirin intake. “This extensive study is definitive proof that women can take simple measures in the first trimester of pregnancy to significantly reduce their chances of developing pre-term pre-eclampsia,” said Kypros Nicolaides, Professor at King’s College London. “The results show that aspirin can prevent pre-eclampsia in high risk pregnancies. We hope that this will alter clinical practice and improve pregnancy outcomes for mothers and their babies,” added David Wright, Professor at University of Exeter. For the study, the team conducted a placebo-controlled trial of 1,776 women at high risk for pre-term pre-eclampsia. The results showed a lower incidence of developing the disease in women taking aspirin than those taking a placebo, the researchers said. The World Health Organisation recommends low-dose aspirin in women at high risk to help prevent pre-eclampsia, which should be started before 20 weeks of pregnancy.