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SGI: High Cholesterol Persists in Mothers of Preemies

Total cholesterol two to three times higher compared to mothers of term infants

THURSDAY, March 27 (HealthDay News) -- Women who gave birth to preterm babies have higher concentrations of total cholesterol than their counterparts who gave birth at term, with the highest concentrations found among women who gave birth the earliest, at less than 34 weeks' gestation, according to a paper presented at the 55th annual meeting of the Society for Gynecologic Investigation, held this week in San Diego.

Janet M. Catov, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and colleagues conducted a study of 47 women who had delivered preterm and 104 women with term births after at least 37 weeks' gestation. The women were tested for levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol an average 7.4 years after they gave birth.

Compared with women who had term births, women with preterm births had higher levels of total cholesterol. The results were similar for LDL and HDL cholesterol and remained even after adjusting for race, age, smoking status and body weight.

"Women with preterm birth are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, but mechanisms relating to these conditions are not well understood," said Catov in a statement. "We found that total cholesterol was an average of two to three times higher for women with a history of preterm birth compared to those with normal gestation births."

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