Lactation Duration and Long-Term Thyroid Function: A Study among Women with Gestational Diabetes

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  • Pranati L Panuganti
  • Stefanie N Hinkle
  • Shristi Rawal
  • Louise G Grunnet
  • Yuan Lin
  • Aiyi Liu
  • Anne C B Thuesen
  • Sylvia H Ley
  • Sjurdur F Olesen
  • Cuilin Zhang

Lactation is associated with reduced postpartum weight retention and a lower risk of several cardiometabolic disorders in population-based studies. We examined the association between lactation and long-term thyroid function among women with history of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), a high-risk population for subsequent metabolic complications. The study included 550 women who developed GDM in the Danish National Birth Cohort (1996⁻2002) and followed-up in the Diabetes & Women's Health Study (2012⁻2014). We assessed adjusted associations between cumulative lactation duration and concentrations of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), free triiodothyronine (fT3), and free thyroxine (fT4) measured at follow-up. Women with longer cumulative lactation duration tended to have higher fT3 levels (adjusted β and 95% confidence interval (CI) for ≥12 months vs. none: 0.19 (0.03⁻0.36); p-trend = 0.05). When restricted to women with a single lifetime pregnancy to control for parity (n = 70), women who lactated for >6 months (vs. none) had higher fT3 levels (0.46 pmol/L (0.12⁻0.80); p-trend = 0.02) and a higher fT3:fT4 ratio (0.61 (0.17⁻1.05); p-trend = 0.007). Our findings suggested that a longer duration of lactation may be related to greater serum fT3 levels and fT3:fT4 ratio 9⁻16 years postpartum among Danish women with a history of GDM. The association was particularly pronounced among women who only had one lifetime pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number 938
Issue number7
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Adult, Antibodies/blood, Biomarkers, Cohort Studies, Diabetes, Gestational, Female, Humans, Hyperthyroidism, Hypothyroidism/blood, Iodide Peroxidase/immunology, Lactation/physiology, Pregnancy, Risk Factors, Thyroid Gland/physiology, Thyroxine/blood, Time Factors, Women's Health

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