Background: Maternal lipid levels in early pregnancy are associated with maternal health and foetal growth. It is however unclear if maternal lipids in early pregnancy can be used to predict childhood lipid levels. The aim of this study is to assess the association between maternal and offspring childhood lipid levels, and to investigate the influence of maternal BMI and diet on these associations. Methods: This study included 2692 women participating in the Generation R study, an ongoing population-based prospective cohort study from early life onwards. Women with an expected delivery date between 2002 and 2006 living in Rotterdam, the Netherlands were included. Total cholesterol, triglycerides and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c) were measured in early pregnancy (median 13.2 weeks [90% range 10.6; 17.1]). Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c), remnant cholesterol and non-HDL-c were calculated. Corresponding lipid measurements were determined in 2692 children at the age of 6 (median 6.0 years [90% range 5.7; 7.5]) and 1673 children 10 years (median 9.7 years [90% range 9.5; 10.3]). Multivariate linear regression analysis was used to examine the association between maternal lipid levels in early pregnancy and the corresponding childhood lipid measurements at the ages of 6 and 10 years while adjusting for confounders. Results: Maternal lipid levels in early pregnancy are positively associated with corresponding childhood lipid levels 6 and 10 years after pregnancy, independent of maternal body mass index and diet. Conclusions: Maternal lipid levels in early pregnancy may provide an insight to the lipid profile of children years later. Gestational lipid levels may therefore be used as an early predictor of children’s long-term health. Monitoring of these gestational lipid levels may give a window-of-opportunity to start early interventions to decrease offspring’s lipid levels and possibly diminish their cardiovascular risk later in life. Future studies are warranted to investigate the genetic contribution on maternal lipid levels in pregnancy and lipid levels of their offspring years later.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The financial support for the generation R study was made possible from the Erasmus Medical Centre, Erasmus University Rotterdam and the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, and the Ministry of Youth and Families. AK Johansen was funded by the South-Eastern Regional Health Authority, Oslo, Norway; LKL Øyri and KB Holven are funded by the University of Oslo, Norway.
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