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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.

No treatment

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 (MyBump Portal) allows women who are currently pregnant to create a secure record of their pregnancy, collected through a series of questionnaires. You will be asked to enter information about your health, whether or not you take any medicines, your pregnancy outcome and your child's development. 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 the MyBump Portal to register.

General information
Sadly, miscarriage and birth defects can occur in any pregnancy.

Miscarriage occurs in about 1 in every 5 pregnancies, and 1 in every 40 babies are born with a birth defect. This is called the ‘background risk’ and happens whether medication is taken or not.

Most medicines cross the placenta and reach the baby. For many medications this is not a problem. However, some medicines can affect a baby’s growth and development.

If you take regular medication and are planning to conceive, you should discuss whether your medicine is safe to continue with your doctor/health care team before becoming pregnant. If you have an unplanned pregnancy while taking a medicine, you should tell your doctor as soon as possible.

If a new medicine is suggested for you during pregnancy, please make sure that the person prescribing it knows that you are pregnant. If you have any concerns about a medicine, you can check with your doctor, midwife or pharmacist.

Our Bumps information leaflets provide information about the effects of medicines in pregnancy so that you can decide, together with your healthcare provider, what is best for you and your baby.