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Preventing Preeclampsia

If you're pregnant or trying, new research may help you reduce your risk of preeclampsia. The condition, which is marked by swelling and dangerously high blood pressure, affects up to 8 percent of pregnancies and is a leading cause of early inductions and c-sections. What to consider:


News flash: Women at risk for preeclampsia who take aspirin are 10 percent less likely to develop it and deliver before 34 weeks, according to a review of studies in The Lancet.

Whom it could help: Those with high blood pressure, diabetes, or a personal or family history of preeclampsia. Aspirin isn't advised for healthy pregnant women.

How much and when: A daily low dose (50 to 150 mg), starting whenever your doctor thinks it's appropriate during your pregnancy.

Vitamin D

News flash: A University of Pittsburgh study shows that women who don't get enough of the vitamin are up to five times more likely to develop preeclampsia.

Whom it could help: All women. It's especially vital for those with dark skin, who tend to be the most vitamin D-deficient (dark skin needs more sunlight to synthesize the vitamin).

How much and when: Experts say 1,000 to 2,000 IUs is ideal. Take a daily D3 vitamin supplement (which is more effective than D2) early in your pregnancy.