New research suggests this is the case, although how low-dose aspirin helps prevent miscarriages is not yet fully understood.
But “aspirin is anti-inflammatory and in a certain subset of women miscarriage can be the result of inflammationNoted study author Ashley Naimi, associate professor of epidemiology at Emory University in Atlanta.
In his study of more than 1,200 women aged 18 to 40 who had a history of one or two miscarriages, women who took low-dose aspirin (81 milligrams) five to seven days a week were more likely to get pregnant, to stay pregnant and deliver a living baby. The same was seen in women who took aspirin at least four days a week.
The study was published on January 25 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The new findings go against a previous analysis of the same data, which found no difference in pregnancy loss in women who took aspirin or a dummy pill while trying to conceive. When the researchers returned to the data and looked at whether or not the women were sticking to the daily aspirin regimen, they found that consistency appeared to be related to the results.
“Aspirin in this group of women could play an important role in reducing the risk of miscarriage, but they should stick to the regimen,” Naimi said.
Many women in the trial did not strictly adhere to the aspirin protocol; they may have stopped taking aspirin while trying to conceive or just after getting pregnant due to side effects such as stomach irritation nausea, vomiting and risk of bleeding, he says.
Starting low-dose aspirin before you get pregnant also makes a difference, Naimi said. “The beneficial effect of aspirin was stronger if women started taking it before pregnancy and weaker if they started taking it after the sixth week of gestation,” he explained.
Always ask your doctor for the go ahead before taking low-dose aspirin if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, Naimi warned, as some people may be allergic to aspirin.
The new findings were reassuring news for Dr Sami David, an obstetrician-gynecologist specializing in infertility in New York. David, who was not in the new study, recommends daily low-dose aspirin for women looking to get pregnant for more than 40 years.
In addition to cooling inflammation, daily low-dose aspirin likely increases blood supply to the placenta due to its blood thinning properties, David said. The placenta provides oxygen and nutrients to a growing baby.
“Daily low dose aspirin is safe for mother and baby,” he said.
The only downside is the risk of stomach irritation, David added. “Be sure to take it with food to reduce the chance of upsetting your stomach,” he suggested.
In some people, aspirin use can lead to bleeding ulcers, David noted. Pregnant women have routine blood tests that would detect this, he said, and “if an ulcer develops, women will be advised to stop taking aspirin.”
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists provides more information on recurrent miscarriages.
SOURCES: Ashley Naima, PhD, associate professor, epidemiology, Emory University, Atlanta; Sami David, MD, obstetrician-gynecologist, New York City; Annals of Internal Medicine, January 25, 2021