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Premature Delivery Linked to High Cholesterol in Moms Later
Date:3/28/2008

Finding may explain reasons for higher risk of heart disease in these mothers,,,,

FRIDAY, March 28 (HealthDay News) -- Giving birth early seems to increase a woman's risk of having high cholesterol later, a new study shows.

And that raises the chances of heart disease even further down the line for these women, the researchers added.

The findings were presented Thursday at the Society for Gynecologic Investigation annual meeting, in San Diego.

"Total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol were elevated in women who'd had a preterm birth, before 34 weeks," said study author Janet Catov, an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Catov said it's hard to know yet whether there's something in the pregnancy or preterm delivery that triggers the high cholesterol, or if it's the high cholesterol that may have something to do with the preterm delivery. She did note that "very early in pregnancy, women with preterm birth have elevated lipids, which may be exacerbated in pregnancy."

Another recent study found that women with very low levels of cholesterol were also at risk of preterm birth, but Catov said this study showed that women on the very high end of cholesterol levels also went on to give birth prematurely.

"Perhaps there's a normal range, and if you're higher or lower, it could be a problem," she said.

In the current study, Catov and her colleagues compared 47 women who'd had a preterm birth, defined as giving birth before 37 weeks of gestation, to 104 women who gave birth to full-term infants. Most of the women in the preterm group gave birth before 34 weeks of gestation.

Women who had other chronic medical conditions, such as preeclampsia or a baby with signs of growth restriction, were excluded from the study.

Blood samples were taken an average of 7.4 years after delivery.


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