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Pregnancy during adolescence has lasting adverse effects on blood lipids: A 10-year longitudinal study of black and white females

BACKGROUND: Primiparity has been associated with 3 to 4 mg/dL lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations in black and white adult women that persist several years after delivery. OBJECTIVE: To examine the lasting effects of adolescent pregnancy on blood lipids, an early risk factor for future cardiometabolic diseases. DESIGN: The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute’s Growth and Health Study is a multicenter prospective cohort that measured fasting blood lipids for 1013 (513 black, 500 white) participants at baseline (1987-1988) ages 9-10, and again at follow-up (1996-1997) ages 18-19. METHODS: Change in fasting plasma total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, defined as the difference between baseline and follow-up measurements, was compared among 186 (145 black, 41 white) primi- or multiparas, 106 (55 black, 51 white) nulliparous, gravidas versus 721 (313 black, 408 white) nulligravidas. Fully adjusted multiple linear regression models estimated blood lipid changes among these pregnancy groups adjusted for race, age at menarche, baseline lipids, physical inactivity, body mass index, and family sociodemographics. RESULTS: In the 10-year study period, adolescent paras compared with nulligravidas had greater decrements in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (mg/dL; fully adjusted mean [95% confidence interval] group differences in black -4.3 [-6.7, -2.0]; P < .001 and white: -4.5 [-8.2, -0.7]; P = .016) and greater increments in fasting triglycerides (mg/dL; adjusted mean [95% confidence interval] group differences in black: 10.4 [3.9, 16.8]; P < .001, and white: 11.6 [-3.6, 26.8]; P = .167). CONCLUSION: Adolescent pregnancy contributes to pro-atherogenic lipid profiles that persist after delivery. Further research is needed to assess whether adolescent pregnancy has implications for future cardiovascular disease risk in young women.

Authors: Gunderson EP; Schreiber G; Striegel-Moore R; Hudes M; Daniels S; Biro FM; Crawford PB

J Clin Lipidol. 2012 Mar-Apr;6(2):139-49. Epub 2011 Dec 23.

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