Taking Aspirin In Pregnancy
Having a Baby?
Aspirin, contrary to belief, is a highly powerful and versatile drug. It is also known as acetylsalicylic acid, a salicylate drug and is used as an analgesic (painkiller) to help reduce fever, relieve inflammation, ease headaches and prevent blood clotting. As a result, it should always be taken with care. Many people confuse aspirin with other over the counter medications such as acetaminophen, also known as Paracetamol (brand names Tylenol, Panadol and Datril). Although acetaminophen’s can relieve fever and soothe pain, they cannot reduce inflammation or prevent blood clotting. Popular brand names for aspirin include Ecotrin, Bufferin and Bayer Aspirin.
In most cases, no. Although aspirin has not been formally assigned a pregnancy category risk by the FDA, it is considered to be in the high risk category D when a full dose is taken in the third trimester of pregnancy. In other words, pregnant women and those breastfeeding should avoid taking aspirin unless specifically advised by their obstetrician to do so. Medical studies have linked aspirin to pregnancy problems in the first trimester, such as increased risk of miscarriage and fetal malformations and birth defects. In the third trimester of pregnancy, aspirin may delay labor and increase the risk of bleeding during delivery particularly if taken a week before labor. It may also cause lung and heart problems in the newborn baby. A pregnant woman who has taken high doses of aspirin in the last trimester should tell her clinician before labor. If you are taking a daily dosage of aspirin for another medical condition, your doctor will assess the risks of continuing during your pregnancy.
If you have a headache and need medication, paracetamol/acetaminophen (brand names Panadol and Tylenol) are a safer option, but only after week 12 and before week 36 of pregnancy.
A daily low dosage (75mg) of aspirin may be prescribed to women who are at risk of developing high blood pressure. Also some scientific research indicates that a low daily dose of aspirin therapy (tablet or capsule) may reduce the risk of preeclampsia in women who may be prone to the condition (from 20 percent to 2 percent). It can also help with chronic hypertension, kidney disease and diabetes. Additionally aspirin, in combination with the blood-thinning medication heparin, seems to help pregnant women a little known condition called antiphospholipid antibody (APLA). APLA is a syndrome where certain antibodies exist in the blood which increases the risk of stillbirth and miscarriage. Trials show a combination of both aspirin and heparin (antiplatelets) can reduce the likelihood of pregnancy loss by 54 percent.
No. Ibuprofen (brand names Motrin, Rufen, Advil, Nuprin) is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), which is not considered safe during pregnancy. NSAIDs work like aspirin in reducing inflammation. Other NSAIDs include sulindac (brand name Clinoril), naproxen (Naprosyn, Anaprox, Aleve), ketoprofen (brand name Orudis) and oxaprozin (brand name Daypro). Some experts however suggest Ibuprofen can be used, but with caution, and not in the third trimester. See also our discussion for treatment of colds: tylenol while pregnant. Always check with your doctor.
For more about prenatal care guidelines, see the following:
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