Send to

Choose Destination
Matern Child Nutr. 2017 Oct;13(4). doi: 10.1111/mcn.12418. Epub 2016 Dec 27.

Maternal plasma cholesterol and duration of pregnancy: A prospective cohort study in Ghana.

Author information

Department of Nutrition, University of California, Davis, California, USA.
Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana.
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, Davis, California, USA.
Department for Paediatrics and Centre for Child Health Research, University of Tampere School of Medicine and Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland.


Low plasma cholesterol may be associated with preterm birth; however, results are mixed and limited primarily to high-income countries. Our objective was to determine whether maternal plasma lipid concentrations are associated with pregnancy duration. We performed a nested cohort (n = 320) study of pregnant Ghanaian women enrolled in a randomized controlled trial. Total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglyceride concentrations were analyzed in plasma at ≤20and 36 weeks gestation as continuous variables and also categorized into low, referent, or high (<10th, 10th-90th, >90th percentile). At ≤20 weeks, plasma lipid concentrations were not associated with pregnancy duration. At 36 weeks, total cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations were not associated with pregnancy duration. Higher HDL-C at 36 weeks was associated with a longer pregnancy duration (adjusted β-coefficient ± standard error: 0.05 ± 0.02 days mg-1 /dL, p = .02); pregnancy duration was 5.9 ± 2.0 (mean ± standard error) days shorter among women with low HDL-C compared with the referent group (10th-90th percentile) (p = .02) and 8.6 ± 2.6 days shorter when compared with the high HDL-C group (p = .003). Pregnancy duration was 4.9 ± 2.1 days longer among women with low low-density lipoprotein cholesterol at 36 weeks gestation when compared with the referent group (p = .051). Our data suggest that low HDL-C in the third trimester of pregnancy is associated with a shorter duration of pregnancy in this study population but do not support the hypothesis that low total cholesterol is associated with a shorter pregnancy duration.


Ghana; cholesterol; maternal health; plasma lipids; pregnancy; preterm birth

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for eScholarship, California Digital Library, University of California
Loading ...
Support Center