Tropical Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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Plasma Triglyceride and Cholesterol Levels in Normotensive and Hypertensive Pregnant and Parturient Nigerian Women

Kashope D. Thomas, Oyebola G. Adeosun, Norah O. Akinola, Uche Onwudiegwu, Alexander T. Owolabi


Context: There are conflicting reports on the concentration of plasma lipid fractions in pregnant Nigerians.

Objectives: This study compares the plasma lipid levels in non-pregnant normotensive women with those in normotensive pregnant women and hypertensive pregnant women in the second and third trimesters and at three days postpartum.

Study Design: Hypertensive women numbering 75, aged between 20 and 39 years were selected from the clinics of the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex (OAUTHC). A comparable group of 75 normotensive pregnant women and 25 normotensive women who were not pregnant were also recruited. Plasma total cholesterol (TC), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDLC), low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDLC) and triglyceride (TG) were assayed for all the patients, using established enzymatic methods.

Results: In the 2nd trimester, plasma TG, HDLC and TC were significantly higher and LDLC lower in normotensive pregnancy than in non-pregnant women (p < 0.001). In the same period, plasma TG, HDLC and TC were lower and LDLC higher in hypertensive pregnant women than in their normotensive counterparts and the non-pregnant (p < 0.001). This pattern was also evident in the 3rd trimester. The blood pressure levels dropped to different extents and all the plasma lipids were reduced to similar levels in both the normotensive and hypertensive groups at 3 days postpartum.

Conclusion: There is hyperlipidaemia in normal pregnancy with significantly lower LDLC and higher HDLC compared to the non-pregnant. There is elevated LDLC and lower HDLC in hypertensive pregnant women. There is a noticeable decline in plasma lipid levels by the 3rd day postpartum.

Key Words: Triglycerides, Lipoproteins, Cholesterol, Hypertension, Pregnancy.

[Trop J Obstet Gynaecol, 2003, 20: 119-122]
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