Reserach suggests that statins could be used to help reduce the need for caesarean deliveries in 'high risk' individuals.
|Taking statins during pregnancy could minimise the risk of emergency caesareans, according to new research.
Scientists believe that the cholesterol-lowering drugs make it easier for the womb to contract and help the woman to deliver her baby naturally.
The research by the University of Liverpool team suggests that high cholesterol levels may weaken contractions during labour and thus rule out a natural delivery.
In a study of more than 4,000 women, it was found that overweight women were more likely to need caesareans, a major operation with high risks.
Mr Patrick O'Brien, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist from University College Hospital London, told the BBC: "If we can find a way to reduce the chances of a C-section in these women, that would be great.
"Overweight women do have an increased risk of complications such as thrombosis and infection, so they would really benefit."
However, he added that doctors had avoided recommending statins in pregnancy because cholesterol levels rise naturally when a woman is pregnant, suggesting cholesterol may be needed by the developing foetus.
"We have avoided trying to counteract that in case it is somehow going against a natural physiological adaptation of pregnancy," he said.
Statins are already widely prescribed to reduce the risk of heart disease.
But they are not recommended for pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding as they pose a risk to the baby.
However, the Liverpool team suggests that they can be given to women in the last three months of pregnancy.