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High cholesterol can develop at any time and it can be common in pregnancy. If your cholesterol level was normal before you got pregnant, it may increase during pregnancy, which is normal and helps your body provide your baby with what it needs to grow.

However, if you already have high cholesterol, the condition can be harder to control when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding and not all medications are safe to take. If you are worried and want to know how cholesterol can affect you and your baby, and how best to manage it during your pregnancy, our online doctors are here to provide help and support.

How does high cholesterol affect you if you’re pregnant?

The hormonal changes in pregnancy can affect your body in many ways, and this can include your cholesterol level. Your body will produce more cholesterol as a normal part of pregnancy. It is not usually a cause for concern and your levels should return to normal after you have given birth.

High cholesterol levels during your pregnancy are necessary for making progesterone and oestrogen. These are essential for your pregnancy and the high cholesterol levels help your baby’s development in the womb.

How high cholesterol treatments differ

If you already have high cholesterol, your levels may need to be controlled through a balanced diet and lifestyle changes, instead of medication.

You may have to avoid certain foods that can affect your cholesterol levels and take regular exercise. The doctor will be able to advise you on changes to your diet and lifestyle that will help.

As mentioned, there are some medications that are not recommended for use when pregnant or when breastfeeding. Some also aren’t suitable when you’re trying to conceive, so speak to a doctor for more advice.

If you become pregnant unexpectedly, you should see a doctor about any medication you are taking as soon as possible to find out if it is safe. If it is not, then our doctors can help you find an alternative that will help you control your cholesterol, without posing a risk to your baby’s health.

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