Low-dose aspirin has big benefits

May 1, 2024

Chances are that you've heard about low-dose aspirin (also called LDA, “baby aspirin”, or 81mg aspirin) at some point. But did you know that low-dose aspirin can help reduce the risk of preeclampsia and preterm birth? Check out the key points below and learn more about the big benefits low-dose aspirin can provide.

What’s preeclampsia and how common is it?

Preeclampsia is a serious condition that can happen during pregnancy, most often after the 20th week of pregnancy. It causes high blood pressure and can affect your organs, like your kidneys and liver—when not treated, preeclampsia can lead to serious complications for both you and your baby, including preterm birth. In the United States, about 1 in 25 pregnancies are affected by preeclampsia. 

How can low-dose aspirin help?

Low-dose aspirin contains a small amount (usually 81 milligrams) of aspirin. It can help blood flow better to the uterus, which is important for a baby's growth. A pregnant person can start taking low-dose aspirin between 12 weeks to 28 weeks of pregnancy (taken every day until birth). However, leading national medical and patient organizations recommend low-dose aspirin be started before 16 weeks of pregnancy. 

How do I know if low-dose aspirin is right for me?

Not everyone who's pregnant needs low-dose aspirin. It depends on your risk. Your healthcare provider may recommend it to keep you and your baby safe if:

What else do I need to know about low-dose aspirin and preeclampsia?

There are many other factors that can increase your risk for preeclampsia, including social stressors. This includes things like having low-income, experiencing racism, and not having equal access to healthcare services. It's important that you talk to your provider about low-dose aspirin if you experience any one of these risks, and if: 

  • You've never had a baby before, or it’s been more than 10 years since you had a baby.
  • You’re considered obese (body mass index higher than 30).
  • You have a family history of preeclampsia. For example, your mom or sister had preeclampsia.
  • You’ve had a baby who had low birthweight (less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces at birth) or was born small for their age.
  • You had a fertility treatment, such as in vitro fertilization (also called IVF).
  • You’re older than 35.

If you're pregnant or thinking about it, and worried about preeclampsia or other problems, talk to your healthcare provider. They can check your risk factors and tell you if it’s right for you.

What are some important things to remember?

Low-dose aspirin doesn't guarantee a perfect pregnancy, but it can help lower the risk of some problems. If your healthcare provider recommends you take low-dose aspirin, be sure to take it exactly as they tell you. If you have concerns, talk to your provider—they can guide you best depending on your specific risk factors. By working together with your healthcare team and taking steps to stay safe, you're giving yourself the best chance for a happy and healthy pregnancy journey.