Progesterone Treatment Does Not Prevent Preterm Birth in Twin Pregnancy

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Sep 24, 2007

Progesterone therapy does not reduce the chances of preterm birth in women pregnant with twins, reported researchers in a network sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

An earlier study showed progesterone therapy reduced the risk for preterm birth in another category of high risk pregnant women — those carrying a single baby who had delivered a single baby prematurely in the past.

“This study shows that progesterone therapy is not beneficial for all women at risk for giving birth prematurely,” said Duane Alexander, M.D., Director of the NICHD, the NIH institute that supported the research network. “So far, the evidence supports progesterone therapy as a means to reduce preterm birth only in women pregnant with a single baby who are at risk for premature delivery because of a prior preterm birth.”

After the initial study showed progesterone therapy could reduce the likelihood of preterm birth in women carrying a single baby and who had previously given birth prematurely, many physicians began prescribing the therapy for women pregnant with twins and for other categories of women at risk for preterm birth as well. In addition to women carrying two or more babies, and those who have delivered prematurely before, also at risk for preterm delivery are pregnant women having a shortened cervix (the lower part of the uterus) and certain infections of the reproductive tract.

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