Aspirin in pregnancy

Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug; (NSAIDs).

Low-dose aspirin (75 to 150 milligrams taken once a day) is often used as a blood thinner; to help prevent heart attacks and strokes.

It is also used in pregnancy to prevent a condition called pre-eclampsia. It is taken from the 12th week onwards and until the end of the pregnancy.

It is sometimes prescribed by so-called fertility centers to women undergoing their own fertility treatments (IVF – in vitro fertilization) and to women who have had multiple consecutive miscarriages.

Standard-dose aspirin (up to 4 grams per day) is used to treat pain and fever.

Is it safe to take aspirin while pregnant?

Low-dose aspirin

There is no evidence that taking low-dose aspirin during pregnancy will harm the baby: for some women it may even be recommended (see above).

However, during pregnancy you should normally only take low-dose aspirin if advised to do so by your doctor or midwife.

Standard dose aspirin

There is no good evidence that taking standard doses of aspirin in early pregnancy will cause any harm to the unborn baby.

However, the use of standard doses of aspirin is not recommended after 30 weeks as it may affect the fetus.

For this reason, paracetamol is recommended during pregnancy to control pain or fever. If this drug does not relieve your pain, ask your doctor for advice before taking standard-dose aspirin or any other anti-inflammatory drug (including ibuprofen).

What if I already took aspirin during my pregnancy?

If you have already taken or are taking any medicines, it is advisable in any case to inform your doctor that you are pregnant: sometimes during pregnancy it is necessary to change a medicine or a dosage.

If after 30 weeks of gestation you have been taking standard-dose aspirin for a long time (more than five consecutive days) of time, it is important that you tell your doctor or midwife as soon as possible.

What problems could taking standard dose aspirin after 30 weeks of pregnancy cause for my baby?

Taking standard dose aspirin as well as taking other anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can affect your baby’s circulation, and cause a reduction in amniotic fluid levels. A low level of amniotic fluid can cause problems with your baby’s lungs and limbs.

Wherever possible, standard dose aspirin (e.g. to treat pain or fever) should be avoided during the third trimester of pregnancy. Any doubts can be discussed with your doctor.

Are there any risks to the baby if the father took aspirin?

No increased risk to the child should be expected if the father had taken aspirin before, or around, the time he was conceived.

Who can I speak to if I have any questions?

If you have any questions about aspirin in pregnancy, you should discuss them with your doctor.

Drugs in pregnancy

Most of the medicines taken by the mother cross the placenta and reach the embryo (or fetus). Sometimes this fact can also have beneficial effects for the child.

However, there are some medicines that can harm its normal development.

The effect of any medicine on the baby may depend on the stage of pregnancy in which it is taken.

If you are taking any medications on a regular basis, you should discuss their possible effects with your doctor/healthcare team, possibly even before becoming pregnant.

If a new medicine is suggested to you during pregnancy, make sure your doctor or healthcare professional is aware of your condition.

Every pregnancy is unique. The decision to start, interrupt, continue or change a prescribed medicine before, or during, pregnancy must be made in agreement with your doctor.

It is very helpful to record all medications taken during pregnancy in portable maternity records.

Katherine Johnson, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with clinical expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology, family planning, women’s health, and gynecology.

She is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology division at an undisclosed healthcare institution and the online platform,

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