A daily low-dose aspirin helped first-time mothers lower their chances of delivering a baby too soon in a new clinical trial funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The NIH-funded trial, which was run in several low and middle-income countries, found that giving first-time mothers a daily low-dose aspirin reduced their risk of preterm birth before the 34th week of pregnancy by 11% compared to placebo.
The dosage is to be given to first-time mothers from the sixth to the 36th week of pregnancy.
NICHD study author Marion Koso-Thomas said: “Our results suggest that low-dose aspirin therapy in early pregnancy could provide an inexpensive way to lower the preterm birth rate in first-time mothers.”
Preterm birth remains a common cause of the neonatal mortality, which leads to long-term neurological disability in children.
Meta-analyses of low-dose aspirin to prevent pre-eclampsia, a potentially life-threatening blood pressure disorder of pregnancy, suggest that the occurrence of preterm birth might also be decreased if the dosage is started prior to 16 weeks of gestation.
These studies, however, were not large enough to statistically determine the therapy’s effectiveness and if the practice should become routine everywhere in reducing preterm birth.
Researchers recruited 11,976 women from seven sites across the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Pakistan, Zambia, Guatemala and Kenya.
Approximately half of the enrolled participants were randomised to receive 81mg of aspirin on a daily basis, while the remaining group received a daily placebo.
Only those women who maintained a pregnancy for more than 20 weeks were included in the study.
NIH said in a statement: “Preterm birth (before 37 weeks) occurred in 11.6% of the women who took aspirin and in 13.1% of the women who took the placebo.
“Similarly, birth before 34 weeks (early preterm delivery) occurred in 3.3% of the aspirin group and 4% of the placebo group (a 25% reduction).”
The clinical trial results show that low-dose aspirin therapy could be easily adapted for use on a wider scale.