How long should I wait before checking the cholesterol levels of a woman who just stopped nursing her 12-month-old child? The patient’s menstrual periods resumed once she completely stopped nursing, so her estrogen levels are still not back to normal.—TARA DANIELLE SPURLING, FNP, Kingsport, Tenn.
Cholesterol levels should return to their pre-pregnancy levels by about six weeks postpartum regardless of whether a new mother is nursing or not. The only cholesterol parameter that differs by nursing status is HDL ratio, which can be elevated during breastfeeding. Your patient should be ready for testing now.—Lisa Stern, APRN (142-1)