Can Taking Baby Aspirin Help With a Pregnancy?

Portrait of a Baby Lying on a Bed
Taking baby aspirin may increase your odds of having a healthy baby. (Image: Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Pregnancy complications can be devastating to a woman who wants to have a baby. Whether she is suffering from infertility, has experienced recurrent miscarriages or is at risk of a serious pregnancy-related condition such as preeclampsia, she may wonder if it is possible for her to have a healthy, successful pregnancy. Baby aspirin, which improves blood flow by reducing the formation of blood clots, may help prevent some of these negative pregnancy outcomes.

Conception

When baby aspirin is taken before a woman becomes pregnant, it may increase the chances of a successful conception by improving blood flow to the uterine lining. Women with endometrial linings of less than 8 mm have increased pregnancy rates after taking baby aspirin according to infertility specialist Isabelle Ryan. This improvement is due to the lining functioning more effectively, since baby aspirin doesn't necessarily make the lining any thicker. Baby aspirin also may increase the chance of a successful conception by increasing blood flow to the ovaries, producing healthier eggs, which results in healthier embryos.

Miscarriage

Fifteen percent of women who experience recurrent miscarriages -- three or more consecutive pregnancy losses -- have antiphospholipid antibodies syndrome, according to obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Samuel Marcus. APAS is an autoimmune disease where the body produces antibodies in parts of the blood vessels, resulting in increased blood clotting. Because taking baby aspirin may prevent the formation of blood clots in placental blood vessels, it can reduce miscarriages caused by APAS -- though baby aspirin is most effective when taken along with the blood thinner heparin.

Pregnancy Complicatons

Baby aspirin may reduce a pregnant woman’s risk for preeclampsia, a serious condition where the woman develops high blood pressure, has protein in her urine and retains water. The Harvard Medical School Family Heath Guide reports that a British study found a 15 percent reduction in incidences of preeclampsia when women at risk of developing the condition took baby aspirin. The same study also found baby aspirin reduced the risk of premature births by 8 percent. The Effects of Aspirin on Gestation and Reproduction clinical trial also suggests that, by improving blood flow to the placenta, baby aspirin may help prevent incidences of babies who are small for gestational age, as well as development of a condition called placental insufficiency, where placental abnormalities negatively affect the growth of a baby.

Warnings

Baby aspirin is a safe treatment, having been used extensively in clinical trials without the risk of toxicity or significant side-effects according to the Effects of Aspirin on Gestation and Reproduction clinical trial. However, pregnant women taking baby aspirin should discontinue it by 36 weeks to prevent abnormal bleeding in the mother or baby. Also, pregnant woman should ensure they take baby -- rather than adult -- aspirin. Full-dose aspirin taken during pregnancy may increase the risk of miscarriage, impair a baby's growth, delay labor or cause a baby to develop heart or lung problems.

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