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Progesterone and Preterm Birth by Virginia Hopkins

Examining the role of progesterone for those concerned about premature labor and birth.


Progesterone supplementation can be very useful in preventing preterm labor and birth. Both injectable and vaginal progesterone are used for this purpose, and many a savvy doctor has also used progesterone cream. Natural progesterone, also called bioidentical progesterone, is likely the safest form of progesterone to use.

Injectable progesterone for preterm birth has been in the news lately, thanks to an outrageous move to corner the market and price gouge pregnant women. In true Big Pharma fashion, which puts profits above all else, KV Pharmaceutical applied to the FDA for “orphan drug” status for an injectable progesterone (Makena) used to prevent preterm birth. In spite of the fact that injectable progesterone has been available since the 1950s, the FDA approved KV’s application, which gives the company exclusive rights to market progesterone in this form, for this purpose. KV then promptly raised the price of injectable progesterone from $10 to $50 a dose to $1500 a dose.

As predictably predatory as this move is, there’s more than one way to get injectable progesterone, and for that matter, more than one way to deliver progesterone. First, Makena is not progesterone per se, it is hydroxyprogesterone caproate, or 17P, a naturally occurring metabolite of progesterone, so actual progesterone is not restricted other than by the fact that it would be an off-label use. Doctors can contact a compounding pharmacy, most of which can provide generic injectable hydroxyprogesterone caproate, or actual progesterone, available at a fraction of the price of Makena.

Vaginal progesterone is also used for prevention of preterm labor, particularly in Great Britain, and it’s just as effective as the injections, and much less expensive.

Although progesterone cream hasn’t been studied specifically for prevention of preterm labor and birth, it should be. It’s a highly effective and rapid delivery method, and extremely cost effective. Dr. John Lee maintained that the only caveat for using progesterone cream is that it should not contain any active ingredients besides progesterone, such as other hormones or herbs. It would also be wise to find the cleanest, or most chemical-free cream possible.


Virginia Hopkins worked for many years with Dr John Lee on his books and articles. Since his death, she has set up Healthwatch whose mission is to educate women and men about the safe use of bioidentical (natural) hormones, and to share helpful, useful and commonsense information about health and nutrition based on solid scientific research. Virginia Hopkins Health Watch Newsletter can be found at her website

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Comments 4
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Sue Mei | 6:34 pm, December 27th, 2011

I see this new product is called Procheive Gel for women with a short cervix to prevent pre term labor.
It got amazing results in Clinical Trials but not FDA approved yet.I read the clinical trial data and it had over a 40% improvement in stopping pre term labor.
Sounds very promising.
Columbia Labs and Watson Pharma are the partners.
Maybe you can do an exciting article on this product.

AnnA Rushton | 9:04 am, December 27th, 2011

Sorry Sue but we don’t have any information on that product, but we do know Serenity bioidetical natural progesterone cream has been used in this way. Virginia Hopkins a long-time collaborator of Dr John Lee, the pioneer in natural progesterone usage – wrote a very interesting article that you will give you more information here:

Sue Mei | 11:51 am, December 25th, 2011

Can you tell me about this Progesterone gel I read that is a gel you rub on skin to help avoid pre term birth?
It is made by Columbia Labs and Watson.
Is it effective safe and inexpensive?

ranjeet kumar mishra | 1:57 pm, May 16th, 2011

please inform me that in which form progesterone and thyroxine hormone is available in market for practical uses. for this i will be always oblige to you.

ranjeet mishra

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