Mother and Baby

Is it safe to take aspirin while you are pregnant?

Section: Scans & Tests

Aspirin is a medication used to treat and relieve pain, fever, or inflammation, but can pregnant women take it?

We spoke to Shamir Patel, a leading pharmacist, and founder of the online pharmaceutical company Chemist 4 U, to give an overview of the painkiller, the risks, and what he advises to do. 

In this article: 

Is it safe to take aspirin while pregnant?

Why would a pregnant woman take aspirin?

Pharmacist's advice

Alternatives to aspirin

Side effects of taking aspirin

Breastfeeding and aspirin

Is it safe to take aspirin while pregnant?

As a general rule of thumb, I wouldn’t outright recommend taking aspirin during pregnancy. However, in some cases, it may actually be prescribed to you. 

If you do need to take aspirin when pregnant, you should always consult your GP, who will likely recommend a very low dose of aspirin, around 60-100mg.

Aspirin can pose risks at pregnancy during all trimesters. Earlier on in your pregnancy, during your first trimester, aspirin might pose early problems to yourself and fetal development.

Later on, it can increase the risk of internal bleeding both for you and the baby. 

We recently did a study to create some pregnancy statistics, in this we found that the number of stillbirths has declined to the lowest level since records began way back in 1927, nevertheless, you should still take every precaution to eliminate posing risk to yourself and your baby.

If, for whatever reason, you need to take aspirin during pregnancy, always consult with a health professional first who can recommend the best course of action.

If using aspirin for pain relief, paracetamol comes more recommended. It’s not possible to say that any medicine is absolutely safe to use in pregnancy, but there is no hard evidence that paracetamol poses any risks.

As above, though, you should definitely consult with your GP or midwife first with any medication, as they’ll probably recommend a lower dose.

Why would a pregnant woman take aspirin?

For many reasons. Aspirin is used sometimes for pain loss, and it’s well known that pregnant women can incur a number of different aches and pains through their trimesters.

However, you could pose an issue for your baby if taking aspirin without consulting a health professional first, even just for pain relief, so always do this.

Sometimes, aspirin might be recommended for a pregnant woman who is suffering from the following symptoms:

But a doctor will need to prescribe this to you, please do not self-diagnose and take aspirin yourself for these conditions as you could end up doing serious harm.

What do you advise someone to do?

My number one piece of advice would be don’t take something and think it’ll be fine when taking aspirin when pregnant. You always run risks so it’s better to be safe than sorry and be totally sure you’re taking the right medication for your conditions and that will benefit both you and baby.

What can I take instead of aspirin? 

If you are using aspirin for pain loss, consider using an alternative which is credited to be much safer for pregnant women - such as low dosage paracetamol.

Paracetamol is one of the most common pain relief and is a well-recommended alternative to aspirin as there are no known risks to the baby.

However, as with everything, no medication is 100% proven to be safe to take, so consult with a health professional first.

The safest option, of course, would be to take non-medicinal remedies when pregnant and breastfeeding for pain relief. For example, using a hot water bottle, drinking plenty of water and getting a good old fashioned recovery-sleep.

What is preeclampsia?

Pre-eclampsia is a condition that some pregnant women have where they have high blood pressure when they don’t typically have high blood pressure.

Pre-eclamptic women tend to suffer from swelling in areas including their feet, legs, and hands, and also have more protein in their urine. Pre-eclampsia tends to occur very late in pregnancy and is dealt with after the delivery of the baby.

If a woman is experiencing any telltale signs of pre-eclampsia, she should consult a medical professional right away for the best course of action.

Read more: Everything you need to know about pre-eclampsia in pregnancy

What are the side effects of aspirin and is it common?

The side effects of taking aspirin when pregnant include: posing early problems to yourself and fetal development in the first trimester.

In some extreme cases, this extends to pregnancy loss. And then later on in the pregnancy, it can increase the risk of internal bleeding both for you and the baby.

Your GP will be able to give you more information on the risks posed by taking aspirin when pregnant, and the ins and outs of whether it’s safe to do this during your pregnancy.

Every woman and baby is different, which is why it’s always important to get a one on one consultation and advice.

Is it safe to breastfeed while taking aspirin?

You should look for alternatives to aspirin when breastfeeding.

A lower-dosage will be safer for you and baby, but it is estimated that a very small amount of aspirin does enter the breast milk and this could pose issues to your baby. The baby could be allergic to aspirin, for example. 

Meet the expert: Shamir Patel, a leading pharmacist, and founder of the online pharmaceutical company Chemist 4 U

Read more: Taking painkillers in pregnancy: what you need to know

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While training as a journalist at the University of Gloucestershire for 3 years, she was nominated for the Best Feature Category at the Midlands Student’s Media Awards this year, and Head of News and Social Media for the university’s radio station, Tone Radio. Ellie has been published by the likes of Heatworld, Heart, Gloucestershire Live, and ITV West Country. 

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