Can taking aspirin help you conceive?

A study has suggested that over-the-counter aspirin can help you get pregnant - we take a closer look at the research, and find out what the experts say

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In a nutshell

A 2017 study by a division of the National Institutes of Health in the US suggested that a woman’s fertility could be increased by taking a daily dose of aspirin.

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Aspirin reduces inflammation, so it’s thought the way it can help fertility is by reducing inflammation in the womb and thereby creating a safe environment for an embryo to grow in.

However, it is not recommended for TTC women generally, and you should never begin taking a daily dose of any drug to aid conception without speaking to your GP first.

What does the study say?

The study, conducted by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), looked at the effects of a low, daily dose of aspirin on a number of things, like:

  • pregnancy rates
  • loss of pregnancy
  • inflammation during pregnancy.

The analysis, published by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, suggested that this low dose did help women who’d previously lost pregnancies carry their babies to 9 months (so, to term).

Indeed, a similar study by the NICHD in 2015 found similar results.

1,228 women aged between 18 and 40 with a history of miscarriage or stillbirth were prescribed either aspirin or a placebo and monitored over the next 6 months.

The results showed that women who did take the aspirin were 17% more likely to become pregnant than those who didn’t.

What do the experts say?

Lots of research has been done, but as there’s nothing concrete, there’s something of a USA/UK divide on this one.

Richard Paulson, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, advises his own patients take a very small dose of aspirin every day to help with their fertility treatment.

“Aspirin is the drug of the millennium,” he said in 2015. “There is no harm in women wanting to get pregnant taking aspirin. It increases blood flow to the pelvis, it increases endometrial thickness.”

However doctors in the UK have suggested more research needs to be done to prove any firm link between the drug and a boost in fertility.

“My impression is that most doctors think aspirin would be beneficial in a sub-group of women, but would there be benefits for all women? My impression is it is probably too blunt an instrument,” says Dr Stuart Lavery, Consultant Gynaecologist at Imperial College, London.

And consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Edgar Mocanu from Dublin, Ireland says: “I don’t think women trying to get pregnant should take an aspirin every day. The evidence does not support the need.”

Indeed, MFM’s Dr Philippa Kaye agrees that you should never start taking aspirin every day unless your doc tells you to.

“I wouldn’t recommend taking aspirin unless you have been advised to do so by a doctor. In general, it is not recommended for women trying to conceive.”

When can aspirin help infertility?

You should make an appointment with your GP who will talk it through with you – remember, aspirin should only be taken daily on the advice of a doctor.

However, if you’ve been prescribed aspirin by your doctor to help boost fertility, don’t stop taking it.

We do know that sometimes the drug is prescribed in a very low dose (around 75mg per day – a quarter of a regular aspirin tablet) to some women who have had a recent miscarriage or stillbirth and who want to try for another baby.

“In certain situations it is recommended,” Dr Philippa continues. “For example, if you have had recurrent miscarriage and then were investigated and found to have a condition such as antiphospholipid syndrome, you will be advised to.”

Until then, DON’T be tempted to start taking aspirin every day. There are other ways to boost your chances of getting pregnant.

Images: Getty Images

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