The online community of mums have a beautiful name for a baby that is conceived after a miscarriage: a rainbow baby, which symbolises hope. And now there is new hope for women who have experienced unexplained pregnancy loss. Scientists have recently discovered that taking aspirin may improve the likelihood of a sustainable pregnancy for a woman who has suffered a miscarriage.
In a study presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, a team of researchers shared their findings from a randomized trial of 1,228 women who had all suffered one to two miscarriages and were trying to fall pregnant again. These women were given either a low-dosage of aspirin (81 mg) to take daily with folic acid, or a placebo if they were in the control group. They took this up to the 36th week of pregnancy.
The results showed that the women with one previous miscarriage who took the daily low dosage of aspirin had a 9.2% higher chance of delivering a live baby compared to the control group with a similar profile. The findings demonstrate that aspirin appears to have an effect on conceiving and preventing early miscarriages. Women who have previously had a miscarriage may want to start taking a low dosage of aspirin as early as the conception stage and throughout the first trimester.
Why does it work?
The exact reasons why aspirin seems to work have not been fully analysed. However, researchers speculated that early pregnancy loss and a number of pregnancy complications could be caused by factors such as inflammation, swelling and poor blood circulation in the reproductive system.
Aspirin has been proven to bring down inflammation and improve blood flow. It has been used for years as a daily treatment by those who have suffered heart attacks and strokes to prevent further such events. However, until now it has not been studied much in terms of pregnancy.
Can I take Panadol instead?
Panadol (paracetamol) and aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) are two different drugs, so they do not work the same way. While both work as painkillers and can reduce fever, aspirin has a special function which prevents blood platelets from clotting and suppresses inflammatory reactions in the body. Panadol does not have this effect.
Is safe aspirin for everyone?
First of all, it is important to state that aspirin is not for everyone. While aspirin is generally safe with few side effects for pregnancy, many people are allergic to aspirin as well—if you suffer from asthma, eczema or rhinitis, you are at higher risk. Aspirin can also cause stomach problems, as mentioned earlier, so you should not take it if you already suffer from gastric, stomach ulcers or the like.
Next, there were some side effects noted from the study. Low doses of aspirin could cost digestive upsets and some vaginal bleeding, although these are very minor and do not put pregnancy at risk.
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