Easy to use gel deters preterm birth

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Applying vaginal progesterone to women who are at a high risk of preterm birth will decrease the odds of a preterm delivery. This is according to a study by Dr. John O’Brien of the University of Kentucky published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

For the study, the research team identified women with a short cervical length via transvaginal ultrasound. Women with a cervical length of 25 millimeters or less are at a major risk for preterm birth. A preterm birth is defined as a birth occurring at or before 37 weeks of gestation. The United States has the highest number of preterm births in the world. Babies born earlier than 32 weeks have a high rate of neonatal complications and long-term neurologic disability.

The study found that the vaginal application of progesterone gel significantly reduces the rate of preterm birth in women. It helped to stop preterm births in both the early (<32 weeks) and late categories.

The use of the gel also reduced the rate of newborn babies admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit, the number of respiratory distress syndrome cases in newborn babies, the need for mechanical ventilation and other complications including intracranial hemorrhage, bowel problems, respiratory difficulties, infection and death.
“For too long, little progress has been made in the prevention of premature births,” explained O’Brien. “However this new large study shows that it’s possible to both help women determine if they are at risk for preterm birth, and provide safe and effective treatment to help prevent preterm births.”

Source: AJOG, MedicalNewsToday


 
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