If you’ve previously given birth prematurely, progesterone therapy could keep history from repeating itself. In a study published in obstetrics & Gynecology, researchers found that nearly 10,000 pre-term births could have been prevented in 2012 with weekly progesterone shots. The authors of the study, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the March of Dimes, based their conclusion on a previous double- blind study. They found that women who had previously given birth prematurely and were carrying one baby in their current pregnancy reduced their risk of having a second pre-term birth by 1/3 when given weekly progesterone shots starting between 16 and 20 weeks.
Pre-term birth affects more than 480,000 babies in the United States each year and is a leading cause of infant death and long-term disability. One of the strongest risk factors for pre-term birth is a prior pre-term birth. If you run the risk of having premature delivery, talk to your care provider about your options.