A landmark clinical trial led by ChristianaCare investigators has shown that low-dose aspirin therapy begun during pregnancy may help first-time mothers avoid preterm delivery and prevent many related postpartum and neonatal complications.
During a first pregnancy some women may their lower risk for premature delivery by taking a low-dose (.81 mg) daily aspirin, starting between the sixth and 14th weeks of gestation, according to a National Institutes of Health-funded study led by Matthew K. Hoffman, M.D., MPH, FACOG, ChristianaCare’s Marie E. Pinizzotto, M.D., Endowed Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Dr. Hoffman and colleagues in the Global Network for Women’s and Children’s Health Research published the research in the medical journal The Lancet.
Preterm birth (before 37 weeks’ gestation) is the most common cause of infant death throughout the world and the leading cause of long-term neurological disability in children. While advances in newborn care have improved survival for preterm infants, the study authors note that the complex care needed for children born prematurely is often limited or unavailable in many parts of the world.
“The implications of our findings on preventing premature delivery are that many first-time mothers will benefit from this very simple therapy,” said Dr. Hoffman.
In the clinical trial involving 11,976 women in low- and middle-income populations in India, Pakistan, Zambia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guatemala and Kenya, results showed that women taking the .81 mg aspirin were 11% less likely to deliver before the 37th week of pregnancy, compared to study-enrolled pregnant women who were given a placebo.
Moreover, adverse side effects such as bleeding complications, anemia, maternal death and stillborn delivery were not different by comparison between the two groups.
Other findings in the clinical trial include:
- Preterm birth occurred in 11.6% of the women who took aspirin and in 13.1% of the women who took the placebo.
- Birth before 34 weeks (early preterm delivery) occurred in 3.3% of the aspirin group and 4% of the placebo group (a 25% reduction).
- Women in the aspirin group had a lower rate of perinatal mortality (stillbirth or newborn death in the first seven days of life), compared to the placebo group (45.7 per 1,000 births vs 53.6 per 1,000 births).
ChristianaCare is a regional leader in obstetrics and maternal fetal medicine research and is a member of the Maternal Fetal Medicine Units Network of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The network focuses on clinical questions in maternal fetal medicine and obstetrics, particularly with respect to the continuing problem of preterm birth.
OB-GYN research at ChristianaCare focuses on preventing preterm birth, identifying normal fetal growth standards, understanding the cause of child development disorders. Research efforts are supported by the staff and resources of ChristianaCare, one of the nation’s top providers of obstetric services and one of the largest and most experienced maternity centers and neonatal intensive care units in the Delaware Valley.