In most cases, no. Some pregnant women are advised by their doctors to take baby aspirin to lower their risk of certain complications, but you shouldn’t take aspirin without checking with your doctor.
While it’s highly unlikely that taking a single dose of aspirin in early or mid-pregnancy will have a harmful affect, the drug can cause problems for both you and your baby if you take it regularly in normal adult doses while you’re pregnant. So, except in a few cases, it’s best to avoid aspirin altogether during this time.
Here’s why: Studies have linked aspirin to various pregnancy complications. A few studies show that taking aspirin around the time of conception and in early pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage. And some researchers believe that taking aspirin at adult doses during pregnancy might affect the baby’s growth and may slightly increase the risk of a placental abruption.
Finally, taking full-dose aspirin later in pregnancy might delay labor and increase the risk of heart and related lung problems in your newborn and bleeding complications for you and your baby.
On the other hand, if you’re already taking a prescribed dose of aspirin for a specific condition, you may need to continue taking it during pregnancy. Check with your healthcare provider.
In certain situations, your caregiver may advise you to start taking a small dose of aspirin each day, usually similar to the amount in one baby aspirin. Most experts believe low-dose aspirin therapy is safe during pregnancy.
For example, some experts recommend that pregnant women with a condition called antiphospholipid syndrome take a low dose of aspirin in addition to a drug called heparin. Antiphospholipid syndrome is diagnosed in women who have certain antibodies in their blood and who also have a history of blood clots or some types of pregnancy problems.
Some research shows that certain women at high risk for preeclampsia
(including women with chronic hypertension, severe diabetes, or kidney disease, or who had severe preeclampsia in a prior pregnancy) may benefit from low-dose aspirin therapy, although not everyone agrees on who is a good candidate for this treatment, when it should begin, and what the optimal dose is.
So unless your healthcare provider prescribes it, you should avoid taking aspirin and other NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen sodium (Aleve), and ketoprofen (Orudis), which can have similar effects.
Check the labels of all over-the-counter drugs to make sure they don’t contain aspirin or other NSAIDs. Better yet, check with your caregiver or pharmacist. It can be hard to tell because some products list their ingredients under different names. Aspirin is sometimes called salicylate or acetylsalicylic acid, for example.
When you need to take something for pain relief while you’re pregnant, acetaminophen (Tylenol) is considered safe to use as directed on the label.