Back in July I posted an article called Statins For Pregnant Women and Kids? criticizing a research study that actually recommended statins for pregnant women.
Well, it appears that even mainstream scientists are beginning to acknowledge the very real risks that statins present for pregnant mothers and fetuses.
Current clinical guidelines already recommend that women who are pregnant should stop taking statins but the advice is based on the knowledge that cholesterol is essential for normal fetal development.
But new research from The University of Manchester has shown that even water-soluble or ‘hydrophilic’ statins, such as pravastatin, can affect placental development leading to worse pregnancy outcomes.
According to Dr. Melissa Westwood, a Senior Lecturer in Endocrinology based at the Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre at St. Mary’s Hospital, Manchester:
Our study examined the effects that both lipophilic and hydrophilic statins had on a key biological system that is crucial for maintaining the normal function of the placenta, which acts as the nutrient-waste exchange barrier between mother and fetus.
Fat-soluble statins like cerivastatin were already known to adversely affect the placenta, resulting in reducing growth. But the researchers also found that pravastatin – the water-soluble statin thought to be potentially compatible for use in pregnancy – had the same detrimental effect.
“These results clearly show that the effect of statins on the placenta is not dependent on their lipophilicity as had previously been suggested,” said Dr Westwood, whose findings are published in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine.
“While hydrophilic statins have not been reported to increase the incidence of fetal malformations, our research suggests that they will have a detrimental effect on placental growth, which is likely to result in poor pregnancy outcome.”
Healthcare professionals should continue to advise women to avoid the use of any type of statin once they plan to start a family or when a pregnancy is suspected or confirmed.