Aspirin in pregnancy – is it safe?

Doctor's advice on taking aspirin during pregnancy, when you might be prescribed it and taking aspirin after miscarriage

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In a nutshell

It’s complicated – get medical advice

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The expert view

Like ibuprofen, aspirin is a type of drug called an NSAID (non- steroidal anti-inflammatory drug), used for pain relief.

It gets complicated because the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) advises that NSAIDs shouldn’t be used in the first two trimesters of pregnancy unless “the potential benefit to the patient outweighs the potential risk to the foetus”.

NSAIDs shouldn’t be used at all during the third trimester unless on the advice of a doctor.

However, according to the NHS, low-dose aspirin (75mg) may be taken if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, but only on the recommendation of your GP.

In that case, it would normally only be prescribed for conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes, or pre-eclampsia, not as a pain reliever.

“Speak to your doctor,” urges MFM’s GP Dr Philippa Kaye. “If you are taking aspirin for another reason then you may be advised to continue depending on your original condition. Many women who have a condition which may make their blood sticky such as lupus or anti phospholipid syndrome are advised to take aspirin during pregnancy.”

Aspirin at doses higher than 150mg per day is not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Aspirin should be used with caution during the last three months of pregnancy because of the risk of bleeding.

Aspirin after a miscarriage

If you are trying to conceive after a miscarriage, you may have heard that taking aspirin could help prevent another pregnancy loss. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been proven, and a recent study in The Lancet medical journal found there wasn’t actually any evidence to support the claims that aspirin can help prevent miscarriage.

Dr Kaye advises speaking with your GP if you want more information on aspirin usage following the loss of a baby, or if you are trying to conceive.

“If you do not have any known medical conditions, generally women are not routinely put on aspirin during pregnancy, so please do not start taking it without speaking to your doctor first,” she says.

A recent US study (October 2015) has suggested there is a link between increased fertility and taking aspirin daily though in the UK the jury’s still out – read more.

Mums on our forum say

“I am 15 weeks pregnant and I’ve been told to take 75mg of aspirin daily from when I hit 12 weeks till delivery. I’m having to take it due to having pre-eclampsia with my first daughter.

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“I’ve had two other children since her and didn’t have to take it but now with my fourth they have changed and say to take aspirin daily. They wouldn’t recommend taking this unless there was a very good chance it helps. So touch wood I don’t get it again. But like I say I had it with first but not the other two and they all with the same partner.” mummymitchell22

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