|« Antibiotics to carry warning labels||One less cookie, two fewer pounds »|
STUDY: Progesterone could help stem growing problem
JOURNAL: Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine
AUTHORS: Dr. Paul Meis
ABSTRACT: Obstetricians say they may have discovered a powerful new solution to the dramatic rise in premature births in the last two decades.
The hormone progesterone prevented premature births in a surprisingly high number of high-risk pregnancies, according to a groundbreaking study.
COMMENTARY: “The evidence of this treatment’s effectiveness was so dramatic, the research was stopped early,” said the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Paul Meis of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.
Progesterone is naturally produced by the ovaries. It softens the uterus lining into a spongy bed that holds a fertilized egg.
Weekly injections of the hormone reduced the chance of premature births by 34 percent in the 306 high-risk women who received the therapy, the study reported. Another 153 women were injected with a placebo. All the women had previously given birth prematurely, the single biggest indication of risk.
“The results are so good that it’s surprising,” said Dr. Fredric Frigoletto, chief of obstetrics at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “No intervention that we have ever applied has had any measurable effect. This is very good news.”
Doctors have prescribed progesterone for years to help infertile and menopausal women.