Aspirin in pregnancy
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Gemma Ferguson
CASS Clinical Leadership Fellow The Portland Hospital
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Miss Claire Mellon - 10 weeks

Aspirin in pregnancy

Aspirin has been shown it can reduce the risk of developing pre-eclampsia in women who are at increased risk of having this condition.
In Short
High blood pressure which develops during pregnancy and goes away after your baby is born, is known as ‘pregnancy induced hypertension’. If you already had high blood pressure before becoming pregnant, this may become worse during your pregnancy.

Pre-eclampsia is a serious condition which usually presents as high blood pressure and protein in the urine/or abnormal blood tests. It may make you feel unwell with excessive swelling, headaches, changes in vision or pain in the upper part of your tummy. It can also affect the growth of your baby (intrauterine growth restriction – when the baby is smaller than usual due to not growing at a normal rate). Pre-eclampsia will normally resolve in the first few weeks after delivery of your baby. Taking aspirin may help to reduce the risk of this occurring.

At your booking visit (10-14weeks), it will be identified whether you are at increased risk of pre-eclampsia – see below for risk factors. If you are at higher risk, you will be prescribed 75-150mg of aspirin (depending on your weight). You should take this medication as soon as you receive the prescription until the birth of your baby. It is best to take this in the evening, as it will be absorbed better. You can take it either with or without food.

If you have 1 of the following risk factors you will be offered aspirin during your pregnancy:

Your midwife/doctor will indicate which risk factor(s) apply to you.

  • Hypertensive disease during your previous pregnancy
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Autoimmune disease such as systemic lupus erythematosis or antiphospholipid syndrome
  • Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes
  • Chronic hypertension
  • Low Pregnancy Associated Plasma Protein (PAPP-A) screening blood test
  • Previous Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) (either birth weight <2.5kg or <10th centile)
  • Previous stillbirth
  • Previous pre-eclampsia/eclampsia

If you have 2 of the following risk factors you will be offered aspirin during your pregnancy:

Your midwife/doctor will indicate which risk factors apply to you.

  • First pregnancy
  • Pregnancy interval of more than 10 years
  • Family history of pre-eclampsia
  • IVF pregnancy
  • Age 40 years or older
  • Multiple pregnancy
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35Kg/m2 or more at first contact.

Rarely, aspirin can cause bleeding from the lining of the stomach. However, taking this dose of aspirin in pregnancy has not been shown to increase miscarriage, vaginal bleeding during or after delivery, or to cause bleeding behind the placenta.

There is no evidence to suggest any harm to baby. In fact aspirin will help to reduce the risk of harm to your baby, by reducing the risk of pre-eclampsia complications; such as premature (early) delivery, low birth weight and stillbirth.

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This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Essential Parent has used all reasonable care in compiling the information from leading experts and institutions but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details click here.