Many pregnant women may experience headaches and nausea during the course of nine months, especially during the first trimester. While usually, we do not hesitate to consume available over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin to deal with these problems, an expecting mother may want to know if it is safe to use aspirin in pregnancy. Read through this post to learn more about the indications, contraindications, and safer alternatives to aspirin during pregnancy.
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).
Can You Take Aspirin During Pregnancy?
Low dose(60-150mg) aspirin is safe during pregnancy as per ACOG guidelines.
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. However, a high dose of aspirin (more than 150mg/day) could increase the risk of the baby having congenital birth defects (3).
In late pregnancy:
- In the last trimester, aspirin leads to premature closure of the fetal ductus arteriosus and may cause pulmonary hypertension (the blood vessel that passes blood to the baby’s lungs before birth), thus delaying labor. However, robust evidence is lacking (4).
While a few doses of baby aspirin may not cause harm to you or your baby, prolonged usage of adult doses may have adverse effects.
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:
- History of eclampsia or severe pre-eclampsia related preterm birth or FGR or IUD (5)
- History of abruption due to PET
- History of chronic hypertension
- Hughes syndrome, also called antiphospholipid syndrome (APLS), which is an immune system disorder that causes blood clots (6).
- Preeclampsia, which usually develops in the third trimester (7).
- Diabetes or kidney disorders (8)
- Aspirin can be considered when two or more moderate risk factors are present such as, age more than 40, BMI more than 35kg/sqm, nulliparous, pregnancy interval of more than 10 years, and twin pregnacy.
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. They will decide whether you should continue it or use an alternative. They will also assess your health and fetal development.
Contraindication Of Aspirin During Pregnancy
Aspirin is not indicated under the following circumstances:
- Aspirin allergy or hypersensitivity to other NSAIDS
- Nasal polyp or asthmatic patient as aspirin may cause bronchoconstriction
- History of gastrointestinal bleeding or genitourinary bleeding
Is There Any Safer Alternative For Aspirin During Pregnancy?
Next, we address a few commonly asked queries about aspirin during pregnancy.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why is aspirin gastro-resistant tablet 50mg prescribed in pregnancy?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine recommend low dosage of Aspirin to women who are at a high risk of preeclampsia (high blood pressure) during pregnancy (10).
2. Can aspirin prevent pregnancy?
3. Can aspirin help you get pregnant?
Aspirin/ baby aspirin can help to retain 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).
Popping a pill for every pain while pregnant is not advisable. Moreover, before you take a medicine for every twinge, you must comprehend the safety and risks of medications such as aspirin during pregnancy. Aspirin is to be taken in low doses only if prescribed by your medical practitioner to manage any medical condition such as preeclampsia and diabetes in pregnancy. Further, you may speak to your doctor about your health and medical history to have a healthy pregnancy and stress-free delivery.
This post is for informational purposes only and is not a replacement for a doctor’s consultation. Do not use any medication without talking to your doctor.
2. Aspirin Drug Record; The Drug Gene Interaction Database.
3. Mother To Baby Medications and More During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Ask The Experts; Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS).
4. Prescribing medicines in pregnancy; An Australian categorization of risk of drug use in pregnancy; Australian Drug Evaluation Committee.
5. Lecture 12 a: Complications of Pregnancy; John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
6. Heilmann L, Von Tempelhoff GF, Pollow K; Antiphospholipid syndrome in obstetrics; US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
7. Jilian T Henderson, et.all, Low-Dose Aspirin for the Prevention of Morbidity and Mortality From Preeclampsia; US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health
8. Yoshihiko Saito, et.al; Low-Dose Aspirin Therapy in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes and Reduced Glomerular Filtration Rate; US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
9. Scand J Pain; Is acetaminophen safe in pregnancy? US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
10. Low-Dose Aspirin Use During Pregnancy; The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
11. Aspirin does not prevent pregnancy loss, NIH study finds; National Health Institutes of Health.