Do Hormones Reduce the Risk of Miscarriage?

In one study, giving the hormone progesterone to women who have had a miscarriage and experience bleeding early in pregnancy may increase their chances of having a baby.

Birmingham researchers did a study of 4,000 pregnant women. Samantha Allen, 31, experienced the same situation again when she lost her first baby and then during her second pregnancy.

After using the hormone for eight weeks, she gave birth to her son, Noah.

Progesterone is a hormone necessary during pregnancy – to protect the uterine lining where the embryo is implanted and to support the immune system.

Samantha was given the hormone progesterone for the trial, which she took twice a day until she was 16 weeks pregnant.

She said her bleeding stopped within a week of starting the trial and the pregnancy was progressing very smoothly.

It is now hoped that women who have miscarried will benefit more.

Miscarriage affects one in five women, and vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage.

With progesterone previously used in IVF treatment, Samantha said she had no fears about taking part in the study.

“I am happy to participate. I didn’t feel it was risky because it wasn’t an early try.”

The University of Birmingham study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, included a group of nearly 2,000 pregnant women given progesterone, while another group of the same number were given a placebo or dummy pill.

All Women Have Experienced Bleeding in Early Pregnancy

Although the study has shown that women with premature bleeding may not be helped by taking hormones, the benefit is substantial for women with a history of recurrent miscarriages (three or more).

There was a 15 percent increase in live birth rates among these women – 98 out of 137 women will have a baby, compared with 85 out of 148 in the placebo group.

Arri Coomarasamy, a women’s and gynecologist consultant working at the Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital, said the treatment could save the lives of thousands of babies.

“We hope this evidence will be evaluated by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and used to update national guidelines on women at low risk,” she said.

Right now, when women experience potentially miscarriage, “there’s nothing we can offer them,” she says.

However, she said the treatment won’t work for all women who have had a miscarriage because there are many complex reasons why a miscarriage can occur.

He added that only women who have a problem with progesterone may benefit.

Jane Brewin, CEO of Abortion Charity, Tommy said: “The results of this study are important to parents who have experienced miscarriage; It now has a robust and effective treatment option that will save many lives and prevent too much heartbreak.”

“It gives us confidence to believe that more research will lead to more treatments and ultimately make more mistakes preventable.”

Source: BBC News Health, Hormone ‘can reduce some women’s chances of miscarriage’, 2019.

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