Miscarriage is a heartbreaking loss. At the very first sign of pregnancy, a woman begins to imagine her child. She wonders what the child will look like, begins choosing names, and imagines having a child in her life; she begins forming a bond of love with her unborn child. Miscarriage takes that away. It ends a life even before it begins. For most women, a miscarriage does not signal any problem and full term births will follow. For some women, however, recurrent miscarriages cause immense emotional pain and longing. A natural response to miscarriage is to wonder why. Most miscarriages are unpreventable. However, when a woman has had two or more miscarriages, additional testing may be suggested to determine if there is a physical reason for the loss of pregnancy.
Low-dose aspirin (75-81 mg) has been used as a way to prevent miscarriages in women with a history of recurrent late term miscarriages. Aspirin acts as an anticoagulant, or blood thinner. It is thought that some miscarriages are caused by tiny blood clots that block nutrients from the placenta. Low dosed aspirin can stop the blood clots from forming. In a study reported by the Oxford Journals, low dose aspirin significantly improved the chances of full term births in women that had previously experienced late term miscarriages but did not seem to make any difference for those women that had early term miscarriages.
Antiphospholipid syndrome, when the body makes antibodies to certain components of cell membranes and coagulates abnormally, is another miscarriage risk factor for which aspirin is commonly suggested. Treatment for this syndrome usually includes heparin injections as well as aspirin.
It is important to note, however, that aspirin during pregnancy should only be taken under the supervision of a doctor. The research on the impact of using aspirin during pregnancy is controversial and research studies have shown different results. Headache strength aspirin, in one study, was shown to actual increase the risk of miscarriage. In another study, no link was found between miscarriage and aspirin use during the early months of pregnancy, however, in months four and five, the use of aspirin was linked to a lower miscarriage risk.
Miscarriage can be devastating but it is important for women to remember that a miscarriage does not signal the inability to have a healthy baby. The majority of women that have had a miscarriage have later pregnancies that result in a healthy full-term baby. Taking care of yourself during pregnancy, including not smoking, limiting caffeine consumption, avoiding alcoholic beverages and eating right will help you to keep your baby healthy.