Progesterone Treatment Does Not Prevent Preterm Birth in Twin Pregnancy
Treating expectant mothers with a female hormone known as progesterone did not prove to be useful in preventing preterm birth in women carrying twins, according to a study supported by the National Institute of Child Heath and Human Development.
Schmalfeldt: Treating expectant mothers with a female hormone known as progesterone did not prove to be useful in preventing preterm birth in women carrying twins, according to a study supported by the National Institute of Child Heath and Human Development, part of the National Institutes of Health. Previous studies had shown that progesterone therapy was helpful in preventing preterm birth in women who carry a single child who were at risk because of a previous preterm birth. Dr. Catherine Spong, Chief of the Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch of the NICHD explains.
Spong: We tested in women who had twins and women who had triplets. Did the addition of progesterone in the same time period, starting in between 16 and 20 weeks and going through delivery, prevent preterm birth? And it was not efficacious, it did not reduce preterm birth in that cohort.
Schmalfeldt: Dr. Spong said this means physicians should not assume that progesterone therapy is useful in preventing preterm birth in all groups of at-risk pregnant women.
Spong: Clearly preterm birth is a major public health issue and we need to be able to reduce the rates of preterm birth. But there's no magic bullet. Progesterone is not something that everyone should be taking. We need to identify the women who meet the needs for progesterone, give them progesterone, and find other ways to stop preterm births in the other groups, such as multi-fetal gestation.
Schmalfeldt: Researchers will continue to test the effectiveness of progesterone on other at-risk women, such as women with shortened cervixes and women pregnant with triplets. From the National Institutes of Health, I'm Bill Schmalfeldt in Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Bill Schmalfeldt
Sound Bite: Dr. Catherine Spong