Friday, September 17, 2010

Can pregnancy or nursing give you higher cholesterol?

Maybe, but let’s look at why it can happen


While good health is always important, it becomes particularly important to keep a close eye on your health during a pregnancy. Not only are you responsible for the development and growth of another person, but you may face unusual or unforeseen health issues as a result of the demands pregnancy places on your body.

For this reason, it may be disconcerting to see that your cholesterol levels are higher than usual both during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.



Normal fluctuations


The good news is that these elevated cholesterol levels are entirely normal. Most pregnant women see a decrease in their cholesterol during the first trimester followed by higher levels for the remaining two trimesters.

The higher levels often persist while the mother is nursing.

The cholesterol is produced by your liver, which receives hormonal signals telling it to make more cholesterol than usual because you are pregnant. It does not reflect an unhealthy diet or poor health choices.



Cholesterol is important for babies


Cholesterol is a waxy, fatty substance that plays an important role both during pregnancy and nursing. It contributes to neurological development in the infant and is an important way to transfer energy. Cholesterol is able to hold a great deal of calories and can be completely digested by the infant after he or she is born, making it a great way for the baby to get the nourishment and energy needed at this time.

Additionally, the higher levels of cholesterol do not pose a threat to mothers during this period because the cholesterol is used by the body and transferred to the child rather than remaining in arteries to cause problems.

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