Aspirin In Pregnancy: When To Take And When To Avoid It

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Over-the-counter drugs are the easiest solution for headaches or nausea. Aspirin is the first thing most women reach for when they have a headache. Aspirin works well at keeping that headache away, but it is not as safe as you may think.

While doctors prescribe the medicine under certain conditions, you cannot overlook the risks of taking this drug too often. So is it safe to take an aspirin during pregnancy? MomJunction tells you all about it in this article.

What Is Aspirin?

Aspirin, also known as acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It is commonly prescribed to treat minor pains, fever, and inflammation. In some cases, it is used as a blood thinner to treat heart attacks, strokes and chest pain (1). This medication is available under different brand names including Ascriptin, Aspilet, Angettes 75, Disprin, Durlaza, Caprin, Ecpirin, Resprin, Halfprin, Nu-Seals and Micropirin (2).

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Can You Take Aspirin While Pregnant?

No, it is not safe for pregnant women to take aspirin unless the healthcare practitioner prescribes it. Although the evidence does not show that a low dose of aspirin (75 to 300mg, also called baby aspirin) can cause a problem to the mother and the baby, it is best to take the drug only when recommended by the doctor.

The standard dose of aspirin (up to 4gm) is not safe during the third trimester. Taking aspirin after the 30th week of pregnancy can cause premature closure of ductus arteriosus (the blood vessel that plays a prominent role in the fetus), delayed labor and birth (3).

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Why Is It Not Safe To Take Aspirin During Pregnancy?

Here are some side effects associated with aspirin intake during pregnancy.

In early pregnancy:

  • A daily low-dose aspirin will not cause any risk of miscarriage, but it could improve the chances of pregnancy if taken before conception. High dose aspirin could increase the risk of a baby having congenital birth defects (4).

In late pregnancy:

  • In the last trimester, aspirin leads to premature closure of fetal ductus arteriosus (the blood vessel that passes blood to the baby’s lungs before birth), thus delaying labor. This can increase the chances of heart and lung abnormalities in the newborn. It also causes prolonged bleeding in both the mother and the newborn (5).

You need not worry if you are taking an aspirin occasionally during pregnancy. It will not harm you or the baby. The concern is when you take in higher adult dosages frequently.

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When Is Aspirin Advisable?

While taking aspirin during pregnancy can be risky, it has been found to be safe in certain conditions. Your healthcare provider may advise a low dosage aspirin if you have:

  • Pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH), to avoid any complications during delivery (6).
  • Hughes syndrome, also called antiphospholipid syndrome (APLS), which is an immune system disorder that causes blood clots (7).
  • Pre-eclampsia, which usually develops in the third trimester (8).
  • Diabetes or kidney disorders (9)

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What If You Have Already Taken Aspirin During Pregnancy?

If you have been taking aspirin for a long time or were on a high dosage when you got pregnant, let your practitioner know about it. She can decide whether you can continue it or use an alternative. She will also assess your health and fetal development.

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Is There Any Safer Alternative For Aspirin During Pregnancy?

Acetaminophen (Tylenol or paracetamol) is a safer alternative for fever and pain during pregnancy. But check with your practitioner before taking one (10).

Next, we address a few commonly asked queries about aspirin during pregnancy.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Why is aspirin gastro-resistant tablet 50mg prescribed in pregnancy?

Aspirin gastro-resistant tablet 50mg is a low dose drug, usually prescribed to women above 35 years, who are at a higher risk of having hypertension (high blood pressure). It is also given if the uterine blood flow is abnormal.

2. Can aspirin prevent pregnancy?

Aspirin cannot prevent pregnancy. However, it is found to increase the likelihood of conception for those who had a recent pregnancy loss (11).

3. Can aspirin help you get pregnant?

Aspirin/ baby aspirin can help you keep a pregnancy. Taking it before conception and during pregnancy can give you an extra boost if you are experiencing low-grade inflammation or if you have a rare condition called Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome (autoimmune disorder).

Pain is a part of pregnancy. But taking an aspirin every time you feel a twinge is a bad idea. Always consult your medical practitioner before taking aspirin or any other medicine when you are pregnant.

If you have used aspirin when pregnant, or are still having it now, tell us how it helped. Share your experience in the comments section below.

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Rebecca Malachi

"I believe words have power. They are a powerful tool for a creative soul. Being a 'word addict', I express my thoughts and contribute articles on health, wellness and beauty. Apart from writing, I love listening to gospel music and enjoy observing nature in silence."
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