Changes in Serum Fatty Acids Levels during Pregnancy and After Delivery in a Longitudinal Study
Introduction: During pregnancy, several maternal metabolic adaptations occur. One of these adaptations is the significant changes in lipid metabolism which contribute to the nutrient balance of the fetal-placental unit, essential for fetal development and lactation.
Methods: In this study, serum concentration of different fatty acids in healthy pregnant women and three months postpartum were determined by capillary gas chromatography and compared to healthy non-pregnant women and men. Differences between groups were assessed with one-way analyses of variance and the post hoc Tukey-HSD test for multiple comparisons. The Mann-Whitney U test was used when a variable was not normally distributed. All statistical analyses were conducted using R statistical Software (version 3.3.1).
Results: The results showed that serum levels of these maternal fatty acids increased significantly from the middle until the end of pregnancy compared to non-pregnant women and decreased at postpartum. Saturated fatty acids were observed to contribute to the highest percentage of total serum fatty acids during gestation, followed by polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. Additionally, serum levels of total, saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and TRAN’s fatty acids were significantly elevated in healthy non-pregnant women when compared with men.
Conclusion: There are significant differences in the lipid profiles among pregnant and non-pregnant women and men, with a decrease in the serum profile of all fatty acids in the postpartum period.