A new study indicates that progesterone isn’t effective for women with recurrent miscarriages in improving their chances of carrying a pregnancy to term. Previous researches suggested that women could reduce the risk of miscarrying if they were administered supplemental progesterone early in their first trimester.
- Progesterone doesn’t make a difference in women with recurrent miscarriages
- A randomized trial found virtually no difference between women who took progesterone supplements and those who didn’t
- Miscarriages causes are multiple, including chromosomal errors
But a new trial whose results were published in The New England Journal of Medicine show the difference between women given progesterone and those in the control group was virtually insignificant – 65.8 percent and 63.3 percent respectively gave birth to a baby.
With 36 sites in Britain and 9 in the Netherlands, the randomized trial monitored the pregnancies of more than 800 women. Neither the patients nor their doctors knew who was administered progesterone and who got a placebo; the supplement was in the form vaginal suppositories.
Roughly 5 percent of women go through two consecutive miscarriages in the first trimester, and less than 1 percent experience more than three losses. Crucial in maintaining pregnancy, the progesterone hormone is often the first treatment recommended for unexplained recurrent miscarriages.
Even though the negative results of the new study are bound to disappoint patients and doctors alike, experts say there is a silver lining. It’s an “impressive” result to see that “more than half of these women eventually had a live birth” Dr. Samantha M. Pfeifer said, who was not involved in the study.
More importantly is the fact that supplemental progesterone was not found to trigger an increase in congenital abnormalities; it doesn’t cause harm to the fetus, according to the trial’s author Dr. Arri Coomarasamy, a professor of gynecology at the University of Birmingham.
Some specialists argue progesterone could be more effective if it would be administered earlier, even before the confirmation of the pregnancy. But regardless of who is right, miscarriages could have other causes – including accidental chromosomal errors. The risk of this genetic mishap to occur increases with the woman’s age; this is why trial participants were younger than 40.
Other experts think all the women in the study should have had at least one miscarriage clearly unrelated to chromosomal errors, because “no amount of progesterone can fix a situation where the fetus doesn’t have the right number of chromosomes.” The statement is Dr. Zev Williams’, the director of the program for early and recurrent pregnancy loss at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Image Source: My Pregnant Health