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Nutrients 2018, 10(7), 938;

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

Epidemiology Branch, Division of Intramural Population Health Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20817, USA
The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI 02903, USA
Department of Nutritional Sciences, School of Health Professions, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ 07107, USA
Centre for Fetal Programming, Department of Epidemiology Research, Statens Serum Institut, DK-2300 Copenhagen, Denmark
Department of Endocrinology, Rigshospitalet University Hospital, DK-2200 Copenhagen, Denmark
The Danish Diabetes Academy, DK-5000 Odense, Denmark
Department of Epidemiology, Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Channing Division of Network Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 June 2018 / Revised: 9 July 2018 / Accepted: 17 July 2018 / Published: 21 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Breastfeeding and Human Lactation)
Full-Text   |   PDF [285 KB, uploaded 14 August 2018]


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. View Full-Text
Keywords: GDM; lactation; thyroid; triiodothyronine; thyroxine; thyroid antibodies GDM; lactation; thyroid; triiodothyronine; thyroxine; thyroid antibodies
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Panuganti, P.L.; Hinkle, S.N.; Rawal, S.; Grunnet, L.G.; Lin, Y.; Liu, A.; Thuesen, A.C.B.; Ley, S.H.; Olesen, S.F.; Zhang, C. Lactation Duration and Long-Term Thyroid Function: A Study among Women with Gestational Diabetes. Nutrients 2018, 10, 938.

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