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Cholesterol levels will tend to rise steadily as your pregnancy progresses, but doctors do not generally screen for cholesterol while you are pregnant. Because cholesterol is necessary for your growing baby's nervous system development, it is dangerous to take cholesterol lowering drugs during pregnancy. Choleseterol levels return to normal about four weeks after giving birth and may normalize more quickly if you breastfeed your baby.
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance produced by the liver that is necessary for producing hormones, supporting cell membranes and digesting food. According to developmental biologist Laura Woolett maternal cholesterol passes into the fetus and regulates circulation and metabolic development.
According to Dr. Gourmet pregnancy expert Faith Bontrager, cholesterol levels rise in women due to hormonal changes that happen when you are pregnant, on birth control pills or during your menstrual cycle. Cholesterol levels rise during the second trimester of pregnancy and peak during the third trimester. These levels drop off about four weeks after you have given birth, but many doctors will wait until six weeks postpartum to test your cholesterol levels again.
Stress can contribute to unhealthy cholesterol levels, so during pregnancy you should relax and do things that promote your emotional well being. Cholesterol-lowering diets are not usually suggested during pregnancy, but you should eat a healthy diet with lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and fish. Exercise in moderation while pregnant to keep your cholesterol levels in check, but make sure to discuss any fitness plan with your doctor first.
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