Vaginal Progesterone Reduces Preterm Birth Rate

JUNE 15, 2017
Ryan Marotta, Assistant Editor
The use of vaginal progesterone in women who are pregnant with twins and have a short cervix can reduce the risk of preterm birth, neonatal complications, and neonatal death, according to the results of a recent study.

The study, published in Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology, analyzed data on 303 expectant mothers, all of whom were pregnant with twins and had a cervical length of 25 mm or less in their second trimester. Of the participants, 159 received vaginal progesterone while 144 received either a placebo or no treatment.

The researchers found that women who received vaginal progesterone were 31% less likely to deliver before 33 weeks than patients who did not receive treatment. Additionally, infants born to participants in the vaginal progesterone group experienced a 30% reduction in the rate of respiratory distress syndrome, a 46% reduction in the rate of mechanical ventilation, and a 47% reduction in the risk of dying in the neonatal period compared with those born to patients in the placebo or no treatment group.

“One of the most serious complications of multiples in pregnancy is premature birth. In 2014, the Michigan rate of preterm birth due to plurality was over 60%,” said Kara Hamilton-McGraw, maternal child health director for the March of Dimes, in a press release. “Discovering a successful intervention to address premature birth in multiples could largely impact the rate of babies born too soon and those that, sadly, do not live to see their first birthday.”

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