Background: Pre-eclampsia is a major cause of mortality and morbidity during pregnancy and childbirth. Antiplatelet agents, especially low-dose aspirin, might prevent or delay pre-eclampsia, and thereby improve outcome. Our aim was to assess the use of antiplatelet agents for the primary prevention of pre-eclampsia, and to explore which women are likely to benefit most.
Methods: We did a meta-analysis of individual patient data from 32,217 women, and their 32,819 babies, recruited to 31 randomised trials of pre-eclampsia primary prevention.
Findings: For women assigned to receive antiplatelet agents rather than control, the relative risk of developing pre-eclampsia was 0.90 (95% CI 0.84-0.97), of delivering before 34 weeks was 0.90 (0.83-0.98), and of having a pregnancy with a serious adverse outcome was 0.90 (0.85-0.96). Antiplatelet agents had no significant effect on the risk of death of the fetus or baby, having a small for gestational age infant, or bleeding events for either the women or their babies. No particular subgroup of women was substantially more or less likely to benefit from antiplatelet agents than any other.
Interpretation: Antiplatelet agents during pregnancy are associated with moderate but consistent reductions in the relative risk of pre-eclampsia, of birth before 34 weeks' gestation, and of having a pregnancy with a serious adverse outcome.