Progesterone may help women with pregnancy losses

By Drum Digital
16 January 2017

Women with a history of miscarriages are more likely to have a baby if they take a natural hormone treatment before trying to conceive, new research claims

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Foetal death, or intrauterine foetal demise (IUFD), affects 30,000 women each year in the United States. About 25 per cent of all women who become pregnant have a first-trimester loss, but for some women, every single pregnancy results in a miscarriage.

Accordingly, researchers at Yale School of Medicine and the University of Illinois have conducted a study into women who lose their foetus during every pregnancy and analysed the effects of micronised plant-derived progesterone in 116 women who had been through two or more pregnancy losses.

Women in the study with an irregular nCyclinE level, a molecular marker, were prescribed progesterone two days after ovulation, during which the uterine lining matures to prepare for a possible pregnancy.

The researchers calculated that the progesterone caused the patients' endometrium, the inner lining of the uterus, to produce more endometrial (tissue).

"The endometrium feeds the baby up until the eighth week of pregnancy. Then at nine to 10 weeks the mother's blood takes over to feed the embryo," said study co-author Dr. Harvey J. Kliman. "In this subset of women experiencing multiple early miscarriages, we assume that their embryos were literally starving to death.

"They attached, but they were not getting enough food. When we give progesterone back to these women, the endometrium makes more nutrients and prevents their pregnancy loss.”

In response to the study results, lead author Dr. Mary Stephenson said that study might prove to be important for patients with recurrent pregnancy loss.

"We are very pleased to find that these results reinforce the evidence that progesterone could be a very beneficial, inexpensive, and safe treatment for many women with a history of recurrent pregnancy loss," she shared. "The positive results show us that next we need to study progesterone as a treatment for recurrent pregnancy loss with a prospective randomised trial to validate the findings."

The results are published in the journal Fertility & Sterility.

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