Ask the Pharmacist: Low-dose aspirin may help preeclampsia

Suzy Cohen
File: Low-dose aspirin.

Pregnancy should be a time of joy, but sadly for some women it brings unexpected health challenges.

Preeclampsia is a condition that occurs during pregnancy where blood pressure spikes very high and excess protein spills into the urine. It limits the amount of blood flowing through the placenta which put both mother and child at risk for harm, and miscarriages and fatalities do occur. 

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Some women are more prone to preeclampsia than others, especially if they come into their pregnancy with hypertension, excessive weight or obesity, or a pre-existing condition of diabetes, kidney disease, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Getting pregnant after age 40 may increase risk, as does in vitro fertilization, donor insemination, or carrying twins or triplets.

There are several ways to take care of yourself and reduce complications. Lying on your left side (to take the baby’s weight off major blood vessels) is a wise thing to do. Also, it’s good to consume less processed foods which contain a lot of salt (sodium chloride) which increases blood pressure. 

Low dose aspirin is another idea that you can talk to our doctor about. A brand-new study published in January 2019, in the respected French journal, Presse Medicale found that taking aspirin at bedtime may be helpful in high-risk patients. This is not the first study to suggest aspirin is useful.

Aspirin is a platelet inhibitor, that means it works to thin the blood which in turn, helps regulate blood pressure. A low-dose of aspirin blocks Thromboxane A2 (TXA2) from forming in the platelets.Think of thromboxane as glue. When you block the glue formation, that makes the platelets less sticky. So, one effect from aspirin is to keep the blood thinner and less sticky so then, there is less pressure on the blood vessels. Too much aspirin will cause excessive thinning of the blood and easy bruising and bleeding. 

Probiotics may help with preeclampsia too. There is a protective effect of Lactobacillus probiotics, and this is interesting because a person’s gut microbiome directly impacts their thyroid hormone levels. Healthy gut status improves thyroid hormone conversion, and that in turn improves fertility. But more importantly, there is an anti-inflammatory effect from probiotics and a new study found that lactobacillus could help the improve odds of carrying full term if you have preeclampsia.

Cortisol to cortisone levels matter too. If this topic interests you, please sign up for my free newsletter at and I’ll email you the information. In the meantime, reduce your stress as much as possible because high cortisol is harmful if you have preeclampsia.

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Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit