My colleagues Drs Bond and Coope have for many years recommended natural progesterone to help women both before and during pregnancy and now this new study has identified that pregnant women with a condition known as short cervix as being specifically lacking in progesterone.
Progesterone is an essential hormone released by the corpus luteum that stimulates the uterus to prepare for pregnancy, and provides optimum conditions in the body that are necessary for the furtherance of the pregnancy and the development of healthy babies.
For the study, Dr. Sonia S. Hassan and her team from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) assigned 458 pregnant women to either receive a once-daily dose of vaginal progesterone, or a once-daily dose of a placebo gel, during their second and third trimesters. While 16 percent of those in the placebo group gave birth before the 33rd week of pregnancy, only 8.9 percent in the progesterone group gave birth early.
Besides reducing the overall rate of preterm births, the progesterone also demonstrably reduced the rate of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), a breathing disorder linked to early births. Not only did the women themselves experience less cases of RDS as a result of taking progesterone, but so did their children. Infants whose mothers did not receive progesterone during their pregnancies were nearly three times more likely to develop RDS than children from mothers who took the hormone.
Dr. Roberto Romero, chief of the Perinatology Research Branch of NIH, said “The study … offers hope to women, families and children. Worldwide, more than 12 million premature babies – 500,000 of them in this country – are born each year, and the results are often tragic. Our clinical study clearly shows that it is possible to identify women at risk and reduce the rate of preterm delivery by nearly half, simply by treating women who have a short cervix with a natural hormone – progesterone.”
Although this study was done using progesterone gel, progesterone cream is a highly effective and rapid delivery method, as well as being cost effective, and I would like to see another study done using it.
Progesterone is already effectively used to help women suffering from post partum depression (the Baby Blues) and it is good to see it also endorsed to support the beginning of the birth cycle as well.
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