Elevated cholesterol during pregnancy: what to do?
During pregnancy every woman passes a lot of tests. One of them must include biochemical analysis of blood, which is determined by several important indicators. In this article we will talk about one of them – cholesterol, or rather, on the causes and consequences of increasing the concentration of this substance in the blood of expectant mothers.
If cholesterol is elevated, doctors diagnosed human hypercholesterolemia. Often it occurs in pregnant women (most often in the second and third trimesters). Why is this happening?
Features of cholesterol metabolism during pregnancy
In the body of the expectant mother throughout the nine months of carrying a child is an active work on maintenance of pregnancy. An important role in this work are steroid hormones that are synthesized by endocrine glands and placenta. Because hormones to maintain pregnancy and prepare for childbirth is necessary much, the body is in dire need of raw materials for their products. This raw material is cholesterol. It is therefore quite natural that its concentration in the blood of expectant mothers is growing every month, and this happens not due to exogenous cholesterol, dietary, and mainly due to the endogenous cholesterol produced by the liver.
Also, do not forget that cholesterol is an important structural element of cell membranes. And as in the body of a pregnant woman the number of cells increases exponentially (grows the placenta grows and develops fruit), increasing the need for cholesterol, so the liver is actively synthesizing.
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It is worth noting one important point: together with a total blood cholesterol of women in position, increases the concentration of LDL (low density lipoprotein) – the so-called «bad» cholesterol. This phenomenon can also be called compensatory, as synthesized in the liver cholesterol needs somehow to get in the adrenal glands, placenta and tissue. That is why the LDL.
In turn, the concentration of HDL (high density lipoprotein or «good» cholesterol) in pregnant women usually does not change, since the extra cholesterol is not and, accordingly, no increased demand for its utilization by the cells of the liver (HDL and just perform the function of transporting cholesterol from tissues to the liver). After birth, serum lipid profile, usually normalized, in this connection, hypercholesterolemia in pregnant women is called transient, i.e. passing.
Causes of hypercholesterolemia
Causes of high cholesterol in pregnant women, as a rule, are physiological. However, to exclude the pathological mechanisms of the development of this condition as impossible. Therefore, gynecologists always appreciate the cholesterol in combination with other indices of fat metabolism, while paying attention to the weight of the patient, the presence of her issues with sugar (often hypercholesterolemia develops in diabetes) and other factors.
After birth, all women had too high cholesterol during pregnancy, it is desirable to be surveyed in the dynamics. If during the re-tests will again be discovered high cholesterol, you should go more in-depth diagnosis and determine the cause of lipid disorders.
Standards of cholesterol during pregnancy
Specific rules of cholesterol for pregnant women there. May increase of this indicator in 1,5 – 2 times compared with the age norm. For a healthy adult cholesterol should not exceed 5.2 mmol/l in pregnant women, this figure may even increase to 10 mmol/L. the Desired levels of cholesterol for pregnant women is 6 – 6.2 mmol/L. However, these figures are averages, they may vary in different situations, so all questions regarding the blood tests you should ask your doctor.
What to do in hypercholesterolemia?
Since hypercholesterolemia in pregnant women is compensatory as a challenge, to take some special measures to normalize the concentration of cholesterol in the blood is not necessary. The more that statins and other lipid-lowering drugs used in giperholesterinemia, expectant mothers is contraindicated.
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But the food pregnant women can be adjusted. This will benefit the overall health and will not allow the expectant mother to gain weight that would be hard to throw after giving birth. You should make a diet based on the following principles:
- Foods that are high in cholesterol (mayonnaise, eggs, offal) should be consumed rarely and in small quantities.
- The best sources of protein – lean meat (chicken, rabbit, veal) and dairy products.
- Sausage products, canned meat and fish, fast food, sweet drinks – it is a taboo for people with hypercholesterolemia.
- Light carbohydrates (sugar, sweets, cakes, pastries) abuse is impossible.
- The best basis for a lipid-lowering diet vegetables and fruits. They have a lot of fiber and vitamins, which contribute to recycling of cholesterol.
- Mandatory in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia is the regular use of vegetable oils (especially in combination with vegetable salads).
In addition, to maintain optimal cholesterol levels expectant mothers need to sleep, more walk in the fresh air and be sure to avoid stressful situations, during which increases the body’s need for steroid hormones.