(Date: May 2023. Version: 3)

This factsheet has been written for members of the public by the UK Teratology Information Service (UKTIS). UKTIS is a not-for-profit organisation funded by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) on behalf of UK Health Departments. UKTIS has been providing scientific information to health care providers since 1983 on the effects that medicines, recreational drugs and chemicals may have on the developing baby during pregnancy.

Quick read

Statins are usually avoided in pregnancy if possible as there is not enough information to say they are safe for the baby.

What are they?

Statins, atorvastatin (Lipitor®), Fluvastatin (Dorisin®), pravastatin, rosuvastatin (Crestor®), simvastatin (Zocor®), lower cholesterol by blocking cholesterol production in the body.

What are the benefits of taking a statin in pregnancy?

Statins lower cholesterol and therefore help to prevent heart disease. This is important to maintain long-term health, particularly in women who have familial hypercholesterolaemia - a genetic condition that causes high cholesterol.

Are there any risks of taking a statin during pregnancy?

This is currently unclear. Cholesterol plays some important roles in the body and is required for the unborn baby to develop normally. There are therefore concerns that using statins to block cholesterol production could affect the baby.

While studies have not shown that statin use in pregnancy causes birth defects in the baby, or other ill-effects, more information needs to be collected to confirm this.

As a precaution, most women are advised to stop taking statins for three months before trying to conceive, and during pregnancy.

Are there any alternatives to taking a statin?

Possibly. Some people can help their high cholesterol levels with diet and exercise. However, some people with familial hypercholesterolaemia produce too much cholesterol no matter what their diet and exercise patterns are. A doctor will be able to advise whether stopping a statin while trying for a baby and during pregnancy is safe.

Ideally, a woman planning a pregnancy should speak to her GP or specialist to determine whether a statin is still the best option. Similarly, women who have an unplanned pregnancy while taking a statin should be reviewed at the earliest opportunity by their GP or specialist.

What if I prefer not to take medicines during pregnancy?

Most women will be able to safely stop statins during pregnancy. A doctor or specialist will be happy to discuss the benefits and any risks.

Will my baby need extra monitoring?

All pregnant women in the UK should be offered a detailed anomaly scan at around 20 weeks of pregnancy as part of their routine antenatal care. Because this scan is so thorough, extra monitoring for birth defects is not usually required following statin use in pregnancy.

Are there any risks to my baby if the father has taken a statin?

We would not expect any increased risk to the baby if the father took a statin before or around the time you became pregnant.

Who can I talk to if I have questions?

If you have any questions regarding the information in this leaflet, please discuss them with your health care provider. They can access more detailed medical and scientific information from

How can I help to improve drug safety information for pregnant women in the future?

Our online reporting system allows women with a current or previous pregnancy to create a digitally secure ‘my bumps record’. You will be asked to enter information about your health, whether or not you take any medicines, and your pregnancy outcome. You can update your details at any time during pregnancy or afterwards. This information will help us better understand how medicines affect the health of pregnant women and their babies. Please visit to register.

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General information 

Up to 1 out of every 5 pregnancies ends in a miscarriage, and 1 in 40 babies are born with a birth defect. These are referred to as the background population risks.  They describe the chance of these events happening for any pregnancy before taking factors such as the mother’s health during pregnancy, her lifestyle, medicines she takes and the genetic make up of her and the baby’s father into account.

Medicines use in pregnancy

Most medicines used by the mother will cross the placenta and reach the baby. Sometimes this may have beneficial effects for the baby.  There are, however, some medicines that can harm a baby’s normal development.  How a medicine affects a baby may depend on the stage of pregnancy when the medicine is taken. If you are on regular medication you should discuss these effects with your doctor/health care team before becoming pregnant.

If a new medicine is suggested for you during pregnancy, please ensure the doctor or health care professional treating you is aware of your pregnancy.

When deciding whether or not to use a medicine in pregnancy you need to weigh up how the medicine might improve your and/or your unborn baby’s health against any possible problems that the drug may cause. Our bumps leaflets are written to provide you with a summary of what is known about use of a specific medicine in pregnancy so that you can decide together with your health care provider what is best for you and your baby.   

Every pregnancy is unique. The decision to start, stop, continue or change a prescribed medicine before or during pregnancy should be made in consultation with your health care provider. It is very helpful if you can record all your medication taken in pregnancy in your hand held maternity records.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to replace the individual care and advice of your health care provider. New information is continually becoming available. Whilst every effort will be made to ensure that this information is accurate and up to date at the time of publication, we cannot cover every eventuality and the information providers cannot be held responsible for any adverse outcomes following decisions made on the basis of this information. We strongly advise that printouts should NOT be kept for any length of time, or for “future reference” as they can rapidly become out of date.

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