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

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


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
Number of pages12
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2018


  • Biomarkers
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes
  • GDM
  • thyroid
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Iodide Peroxidase
  • Lactation
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors
  • Thyroid Gland
  • Thyroxine/blood
  • Time Factors
  • Women's Health
  • triiodothyronine
  • thyroxine
  • thyroid antibodies


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