FRIDAY, April 29, 2011 (HealthDay News) -- Multiple pregnancies may increase the risk of obesity, diabetes and the buildup of plaque in the arteries, suggests new research in mice.
Scientists from the University of Cincinnati and colleagues studied mice late in gestation in either their first or fourth pregnancy. Those in their fourth pregnancy had severe glucose intolerance and excess fat tissue, while those in their first pregnancy did not have glucose intolerance and had less fat.
In addition, the fat tissue in mice in their fourth pregnancy had significant increases in several inflammation-causing chemicals called cytokines and an accumulation of inflammation-related white blood cells called macrophages.
Repeated cytokine fluctuations during pregnancy may cause residual inflammation that affects cardiovascular health, according to the study.
If such changes also occur in humans, women who have multiple pregnancies may be at increased risk for plaque buildup in the arteries, obesity and diabetes, the researchers concluded.
The study was slated to be presented Friday at the American Heart Association's Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology 2011 Scientific Sessions in Chicago.
Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The March of Dimes outlines steps for a healthy pregnancy.