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18th Jul 2019

New study finds miscarriages may be prevented with progesterone

Trine Jensen-Burke

For women who have suffered multiple miscarriages, a study now seems to confirm that a treatment with progesterone might increase their chances of carrying a baby to full term.

In a new study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, two-thirds of women who used the hormonal supplement before pregnancy successfully delivered babies, despite having had at least two previous pregnancy losses.

This is interesting, because while progesterone supplements (also known as micronized progesterone) have been recommended for more than 50 years for women struggling with infertility, there has been less research on how it might benefit women who get pregnant but then miscarry.

Progesterone has been shown to help stabilize the inner lining of the uterus called the endometrium, an important factor for healthy embryo development, and researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Yale University recruited 116 women who had lost at least two early pregnancies, and tested their levels of nCyclinE, a molecular marker for endometrial health. Those with abnormal levels were then prescribed progesterone supplementation, to be inserted vaginally, twice a day during the second half of their menstrual cycles.

The researchers believe that the progesterone caused the endometrium to secrete more nutrients, which serve as food for an embryo in its first weeks of development. (In the study, women who became pregnant continued taking progesterone until the 10-week mark.)

Progesterone can be prescribed in several forms, including creams, capsules and pills that are inserted vaginally with an applicator, and Stephenson recommends women who have suffered multiple pregnancy losses in the past discuss progesterone as as option with their doctor or healthcare provider.