Enoxaparin for the prevention of preeclampsia and intrauterine growth restriction in women with a history: a randomized trial

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2017 Mar;216(3):296.e1-296.e14. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2017.01.014. Epub 2017 Jan 30.


Background: Preeclampsia and small-for-gestational-age pregnancy are major causes of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality. Women with a previous pregnancy affected by these conditions are at an increased risk of recurrence in a future pregnancy. Past trials evaluating the effect of low-molecular-weight heparin for the prevention of recurrence of preeclampsia and small-for-gestational-age pregnancy have shown conflicting results with high levels of heterogeneity displayed when trials were compared.

Objective: We sought to assess the effectiveness of enoxaparin in addition to high-risk care for the prevention of preeclampsia and small-for-gestational-age pregnancy in women with a history of these conditions.

Study design: This was an open-label randomized controlled trial in 5 tertiary care centers in 3 countries. Women with a viable singleton pregnancy were invited to participate between >6+0 and <16+0 weeks if deemed to be at high risk of preeclampsia and/or small for gestational age based on their obstetric history. Eligible participants were randomly assigned in a 1-to-1 ratio to standard high-risk care or standard high-risk care plus enoxaparin 40 mg (4000 IU) by subcutaneous injection daily from recruitment until 36+0 weeks or delivery, whichever occurred sooner. Standard high-risk care was defined as care coordinated by a high-risk antenatal clinic service, aspirin 100 mg daily until 36+0 weeks, and-for women with prior preeclampsia-calcium 1000-1500 mg daily until 36+0 weeks. In a subgroup of participants serum samples were taken at recruitment and at 20 and 30 weeks' gestation and later analyzed for soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1, soluble endoglin, endothelin-1, placental growth factor, and soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule 1. The primary outcome was a composite of preeclampsia and/or small-for-gestational-age <5th customized birthweight percentile. All data were analyzed on an intention-to-treat basis. The trial is registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12609000699268).

Results: Between July 26, 2010, and Oct. 28, 2015, a total of 156 participants were enrolled and included in the analysis. In all, 149 participants were included in the outcome analysis (72 receiving standard high-risk care plus enoxaparin and 77 receiving standard high-risk care only). Seven women who miscarried <16 weeks' gestation were excluded. The majority of participants (151/156, 97%) received aspirin. The addition of enoxaparin had no effect on the rate of preeclampsia and/or small-for-gestational-age <5th customized birthweight percentile: enoxaparin 18/72 (25%) vs no enoxaparin 17/77 (22.1%) (odds ratio, 1.19; 95% confidence interval, 0.53-2.64). There was also no difference in any of the secondary outcome measures. Levels of soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 and soluble endoglin increased among those who developed preeclampsia, but there was no difference in levels of these antiangiogenic factors (nor any of the other serum analytes measured) among those treated with enoxaparin compared to those receiving standard high-risk care only.

Conclusion: The use of enoxaparin in addition to standard high-risk care does not reduce the risk of recurrence of preeclampsia and small-for-gestational-age infants in a subsequent pregnancy.

Keywords: enoxaparin; fetal growth restriction; intrauterine growth restriction; low-molecular-weight heparin; preeclampsia; randomized trial; small for gestational age.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use*
  • Enoxaparin / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Pre-Eclampsia / prevention & control*
  • Pregnancy
  • Young Adult


  • Anticoagulants
  • Enoxaparin