It depends. Experts caution against taking adult aspirin during pregnancy because studies have linked it to various 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 adult aspirin during pregnancy could affect the baby's growth and slightly increase the risk of a placental abruption.
Taking full-dose aspirin later in pregnancy might delay labor and increase the risk of heart and lung problems in your newborn, and bleeding complications for you and your baby.
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.
Although adult aspirin is not considered safe to take during pregnancy, sometimes providers advise pregnant women to take baby aspirin to lower their risk of certain complications, such as preeclampsia.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine recommend that women at high risk for preeclampsia start taking low-dose aspirin between 12 and 28 weeks of pregnancy (but preferably before 16 weeks) and continue until they deliver their babies.
You have a higher risk of preeclampsia if you:
- Are carrying multiples
- Have chronic hypertension, diabetes, kidney disease, or autoimmune disease
- Had preeclampsia in a previous pregnancy
Low-dose aspirin can also be beneficial for women with more than one moderate risk factor for preeclampsia. These include:
- Having your first baby
- Having your last baby more than 10 years ago
- Being obese (body mass index greater than 30)
- Having a mother or sister with a history of preeclampsia
- Being African American
- Being in a low socioeconomic group
- Being age 35 or older
- Previously having a baby with a low birth weight (or who was small for gestational age)
- Having a previous adverse pregnancy outcome
Some experts also recommend that pregnant women with a condition called antiphospholipid syndrome take a low dose of aspirin (in addition to a drug called heparin). Women with antiphospholipid syndrome have certain antibodies in their blood and also have a history of blood clots or certain other pregnancy problems.
In general, unless your healthcare provider prescribes it, don't take adult aspirin or any other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen sodium (Aleve), and ketoprofen (Orudis).
Check the labels of over-the-counter drugs to make sure they don't contain aspirin or other NSAIDs. It can be hard to tell because some products list their ingredients under different names. Aspirin is sometimes listed as salicylate or acetylsalicylic acid, for example. Better yet, talk to your provider or a pharmacist before taking any over-the-counter pain reliever during pregnancy.