Progesterone May Help Prevent Premature Births

 

MERRIAM, Kan. -- Babies being born early is still a big problem for pregnant women -- and in 50 percent of the premature births there is no explanation for it, KMBC's Kelly Eckerman reported Wednesday.

However, there is a preventative treatment shown to increase the chances of a full-term delivery. Eckerman reported there is a growing use of progesterone in high-risk pregnant women.

Stephanie White had two children born prematurely who did not survive. When she became pregnant again, she took weekly progesterone injections. The delivery was successful and Markus White is now 10 months old.

"There's only so much they can do when you've had premature births, and they don't know why it happens, so they want to do as much as they can. I was happy to try everything, you know, just to get him," White said.
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Dr. Leah Ridgeway, an obstetrician-gynecologist with Shawnee Mission Medical Center, said she often suggests progesterone injections to patients with a history of pre-term delivery.

"(A study) found there was more than a one-third decrease in the number of women who delivered prematurely when given the weekly injections of progesterone," Ridgeway said.

The study, published in 2003 in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that there weren't negative side effects from the progesterone.

Ridgeway said she was pleased that White did well with the injections.

"It was great we had something to offer her. She had two very premature deliveries and not good outcomes with either, and with this pregnancy, she has a healthy little baby," Ridgeway said.

"I hope I can inspire others to keep trying," White said.

For more information on progesterone, visit ShawneeMission.org or the March of Dimes Web site.

POSTED: 1:27 pm CDT October 19, 2005
UPDATED: 4:01 pm CDT October 19, 2005