High LDL cholesterol in pregnant women raises the child’s risk of high LDL in adulthood. The researchers looked at over 500 mother/offspring pairs and found that high LDL levels in mothers prior to becoming pregnant increased the risk of their child having high LDL levels upon entering adulthood.
A quarter of women in childbearing years have an elevated level of LDL cholesterol. The researchers examined 538 parent/offspring pairs with the parent having high LDL cholesterol, which was determined prior to the birth of the child.
The researchers found that adult offspring’s LDL cholesterol levels were associated with the mother’s LDL levels prior to pregnancy. Offspring exposed to their mothers’ higher LDL cholesterol levels are 3.8 times more likely to develop high LDL cholesterol themselves in adulthood, compared to those offspring not exposed to high LDL cholesterol.
The authors wrote, “The findings support the possibility of a maternal epigenetic [something that affects a cell, organ, or individual without directly affecting its DNA, such as an environmental effect] contribution to cardiovascular disease risk in the general population. Further research is warranted to determine whether ongoing public health efforts to identify and reduce dyslipidemia in young adults prior to their childbearing years may have additional potential health benefits for the subsequent generation.”
How to control cholesterol levels during pregnancy
Being healthy during pregnancy is especially important as your health directly affects the health of your child. Managing cholesterol is important as the research shows it can be passed onto your child. The good thing about cholesterol is that unless it is caused by a genetic cause, lifestyle habits can work wonders on proper management and reduce levels naturally without the use of medications. Here are some tips to better control cholesterol levels during pregnancy to ensure you have a healthy pregnancy and healthy child:
- Increase exercise.
- Increase your fiber intake.
- Consume healthy fats from nuts and avocados.
- Reduce your intake of fried food, saturated and trans fats, as well as sugars.
If you had high cholesterol prior to becoming pregnant, speak with your doctor about your options, as many statins cannot be taken during pregnancy and thus managing cholesterol through lifestyle changes is essential.
Cholesterol levels can rise naturally during pregnancy due to changes in hormones, and cholesterol is also essential for the baby’s development, but if levels are too high it can cause complications. Speak to your doctor about any concerns you may have regarding cholesterol and your doctor will check your levels routinely.