A new study published in the journal Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology found that administering progesterone reduced the rate of preterm birth by 45% among women with a shortened cervix. A short cervix is known to increase the risk for preterm birth. The cervix is the part of the uterus that opens and shortens during labor.
The study also found that infants born to women who had received progesterone were less likely to develop respiratory distress syndrome, a breathing complication occurring commonly in preterm infants. Despite many efforts to intervene, premature delivery has remained unchanged and is the leading cause of health problems for infants, far greater than birth defects.
The study authors reasoned that based on recent success of administering progesterone to women who have previously experienced preterm birth (before 34 weeks gestational age) that they could expand it’s utility by identifying a predicable risk factor such as a short cervix, then intervene early and hopefully prolong pregnancy. The women in the study underwent routine ultrasound screening of cervical length early in their 2nd trimester. The women with a short cervix were randomly assigned to receive either a vaginal gel progesterone preparation or a placebo between the 19th and 23rd week of pregnancy. Progesterone treatment was associated with a lower rate of preterm delivery (9% in the progesterone group versus 16% in the placebo group).
So now the question national leaders in Obstetrics must determine is which pregnant women should be screened for a shortened cervix? We’ll let you know as soon as these best practices are announced…
Wishing You Good Health,
Women’s Health Specialists
2299 Mowry Avenue, Suite #3C
Fremont, CA 94538
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