In a new study entitled “Pre-Conception Dyslipidemia Is Associated with Development of Preeclampsia and Gestational Diabetes Mellitus”, researchers investigated how the metabolic profile of women prior to conception, particularly their lipid levels in the blood, may impact their risk to suffer pregnancy-associated disorders, such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes mellitus. They identified a positive association between these disorders and women with high triglycerides levels and low high density lipoprotein cholesterol in a preconception stage. The study was published in the journal PLOS One.
The authors investigated how abnormal levels of lipids in the woman’s blood before conception impacts the risk for severe pregnancy complications, including preeclampsia (a condition in pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure, sometimes with fluid retention and proteinuria, i.e., the presence of high protein levels in the urine) and gestational diabetes mellitus.
The team analyzed data collected from all deliveries performed in the Soroka University Medical Center, Beersheba, Israel between 2005 and 2011. In the analysis, authors included all singleton deliveries (n = 27,721) by women who had no cardiovascular morbidity or pregnancy-related complications in previous pregnancies, including preeclampsia and gestational diabetes mellitus. They used the Generalized Estimation Equations to determine if there was an association between multiple metabolic parameters registered during preconception – low high density lipoprotein cholesterol (with levels below 50 mg/dL) and high triglycerides (defined as levels above 150 mg/dL) – and a pregnancy outcome of preeclampsia or gestational diabetes mellitus.
The researchers found that 1.7% of the subjects analyzed (3,243 women) presented preeclampsia and/or gestational diabetes. After adjusting for maternal age, weight, blood pressure, repeated abortions, fertility treatments and fasting glucose, the team observed that elevated levels of triglycerides and low levels of high density lipoprotein cholesterol were independent factors associated with preeclampsia and/or gestational diabetes.
Hence, the team highlights that low preconception levels of high density lipoprotein cholesterol and high levels of triglycerides are associated with an increased risk for preeclampsia and/or gestational diabetes mellitus. Due to the severity of these pregnancy-associated disorders, the team suggested that clinicians should perform a lipid screening in women contemplating conception. Women identified with abnormal lipid levels should be subjected to increased vigilance in order to identify in time signs either of preeclampsia and/or gestational diabetes mellitus.