Questions surrounding drug use and pregnancy don’t start just when a woman is expecting a child. There are also healthcare professionals and academics thinking about treatment at an earlier stage: how medication can affect the chance of a woman conceiving.
In April 2014, one group of scientists published research on how regular low-dose aspirin affects a woman’s chance to get pregnant. The researchers found that in a particular study group – of women who had reported one miscarriage in the past 12 months – a low dose of aspirin taken regularly helped improve their chances of conceiving.
The study tracked 1,078 women over a four-year period from four medical centers across the USA. Women who had experienced more than two miscarriages were not eligible for the trial as the researchers suspected they might be affected by other factors.
Half of the women – 535 – were given low doses of aspirin together with folic acid while trying to get pregnant, and, if they were successful, during pregnancy (up to 36 weeks). The researchers speculated that aspirin’s ability to improve the flow of blood and reduce inflammation might improve the outcome of pregnancy.
The study produced two interesting findings. Of the women taking aspirin who went full term with their pregnancy, there was no significant increase in the number of babies born with defects. So low-dose aspirin didn’t – according to this study at least – put fetuses at any greater risk. The second key finding is that participants who had reported just a single miscarriage in the 12 months prior to the study were 10% more likely to get pregnant and carry their baby to term.
These results are not definitive in isolation, but they are adding to previous research findings, and should help pave the way for further investigation into the potential benefits of aspirin in conception.