Thursday, October 4, 2007

Mother's Cholesterol Levels Appear to Link to Premature Birth and Low Birth Weight

Ivanhoe has reported that scientists at the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health have confirmed previous findings that very high cholesterol (more than 261 mg/dl) is linked to premature birth (delivering a baby before 37 weeks of gestation). In the process, they have also found what appears to be surprising evidence that very low cholesterol (less than 159 mg/dl) in linked in Caucasian mothers to premature delivery.

When these scientists compared African-American mothers with low cholesterol with white mothers with low cholesterol, they found premature delivery only in the white mothers. Previous studies had shown that 12 percent of all women with very high cholesterol deliver their babies prematurely. This recent study shows a 21-percent incidence of premature birth among white women with very low cholesterol.

It also appeared that cholesterol levels have an impact on birth weight. When both groups of women who had low maternal cholesterol were compared, they found that on average the infants weighed 5 ounces less than other babies born to mothers in the normal cholesterol range.

More research is needed to uncover the mechanism behind these links before clinical recommendations can be made for expectant mothers, but it is obvious at this time that pregnant mothers should be working with their doctors to get their cholesterol levels as close to the normal range as possible.


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