How This Over-the-Counter Drug Could Help You Get and Stay Pregnant

If you've struggled to have a baby, you may be considering pricey medical intervention...but the solution might be simpler than you think.

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Expensive, invasive medical procedures help couples have babies every day—but what if something that could increase your chances of having a successful pregnancy could be found right in your medicine cabinet? 

A recent study indicates that aspirin might be helpful for women who are struggling to conceive—and it may even be help women who have miscarried carry their pregnancies to term. Researchers from the National Institutes of Health's Eunice Kennedy observed data from a group of women who had suffered one or two pregnancy losses to see if a daily low dose of aspirin could change their outcomes. 

According to their findings, the benefit might be present—at least among women who suffered from inflammation, which has been linked to causes of infertility. The women were placed in groups based on their blood levels of C-reactive protein, which measures inflammation in the body, and some women surveyed took placebos while others were given aspirin. The women whose results indicated high levels of inflammation appeared to have better results with aspirin: Women in this group who took placebos had just a 44 percent rate of live birth, while those who took aspirin saw a 59 percent live birth rate.

While the authors pointed out that they'll need to do more research to fully understand this link, this might be a simple yet effective way for women who have struggled to sustain pregnancies increase their odds of positive outcomes—but do fertility experts agree with it?

Elena Trukhacheva, M.D., the president of the Reproductive Medical Institute, weighed in on the findings. Like the study's authors, Dr. Trukhacheva believes we need more research before we can confirm this effect. "This is an interesting finding," she said. "In our evaluations of recurrent pregnancy loss, we may look closer at risk factors for systemic inflammation, and consider testing these patients for CRP levels as well as treating those with high levels (of CRP) with aspirin.  Hopefully, this finding will also facilitate further research in this area."

But reproductive specialist Marie Warner, M.D. said you should tread carefully where these findings are concerned. "In selected subgroups of women, recent studies have shown some improvement in outcomes for women using aspirin. However, aspirin cannot be routinely recommended for all patients," she said. "If you are already pregnant with no history of miscarriage, I do not yet recommend regular aspirin use in the early part of pregnancy. For selected populations of women, aspirin may be an important tool. Well-established research has suggested that the use of blood thinners may be useful for women with a history of recurrent miscarriage—typically more than one.  A group of patients have been identified by a simple blood test and this group may benefit from aspirin, however more study is needed before this is routinely recommended."

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