Does Pregnancy Alter Life Course Lipid Trajectories? Evidence from the HUNT Study in Norway

Amanda R Markovitz, Eirin B Haug, Julie Horn, Abigail Fraser, Corrie Macdonald-Wallis, Kate Tilling, Eric B Rimm, Stacey A Missmer, Paige L Williams, Pal Richard R Romundstad, Bjorn O Asvold, Janet W Rich-Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
217 Downloads (Pure)


We examined the association between pregnancy and life course lipid trajectories. Linked data from the Norwegian HUNT Study and the Medical Birth Registry of Norway yielded 19,987 parous and 1,625 nulliparous women. Using mixed effects spline models, we estimated differences in non-fasting lipid levels from before to after first birth in parous women and between parous and nulliparous women. High density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) dropped by -4.2 mg/dL (95% CI: -5.0, -3.3) from before to after first birth in adjusted models, a 7% change, and total cholesterol to HDL-C ratio (TC/HDL-C) increased by 0.18 (95% CI: 0.11, 0.25) with no change in non-HDL-C or triglycerides. Changes in HDL-C and TC/HDL-C associated with pregnancy persisted for decades, leading to altered life course lipid trajectories. For example, parous women had a lower HDL-C than nulliparous women at age 50 (-1.4 mg/dL, 95% CI: -2.3, -0.4). Adverse changes in lipids were greatest following first birth with small changes after subsequent births and were larger in women who did not breastfeed. Findings suggest that pregnancy is associated with long-lasting adverse changes in HDL-C, potentially setting parous women on a more atherogenic trajectory than prior to pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Lipid Research
Early online date12 Oct 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Oct 2018

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Does Pregnancy Alter Life Course Lipid Trajectories? Evidence from the HUNT Study in Norway'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this