HELLP Syndrome: Can It Be Prevented?

I was diagnosed with HELLP Syndrome (Hemolysis, Elevated Liver Enzymes & Low Platelets) during my last pregnancy> My doctor induced labor at 35 weeks gestation and I ended up with a cesarean. My OB believes I will develop HELLP in my next pregnancy and suggested I take low-dose aspirin.Can I do anything to avoid HELLP in my next pregnancy?

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Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

There is no known way to prevent HELLP because we don't know what causes it. Women at high risk are those with conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease, women living in poverty, women 10 percent heavier than ideal body weight, older women (especially when having their first babies) and women who have had the condition previously.

However, according to a large, multi-center study, low-dose aspirin may help prevent preeclampsia, a similar syndrome, in women at high risk. Even in a small town, providers should know about this.

And, you may suggest that they read one of these: Sibai, BM et al (1993) "Prevention of preeclampsia with low-dose aspirin in healthy nulliparous pregnant women." N Eng J med 329: 1213-1218 OR Institute of Ob and Gyn (1995) "Low dose aspirin therapy in obstetrics." Current opinion in ob and gyn, 7: 135-139.

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