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Breakthrough in premature birth prevention

A simple hormonal gel could significantly reduce the chances of giving birth prematurely, finds new study

Posted: 7 April 2011
by lorna Bremner
premature baby after birth
Could a simple gel save the lives of thousands of preemie babies?

Premature birth may soon be prevented with the use of a topical progesterone gel, a new study has suggested.  The treatment is a vaginal progesterone gel, which has been found to reduce preterm delivery by as much as 45% in trials.

The gel can be effective if the risk of giving birth prematurely is caused by a short cervix. This can be diagnosed with an ultrasound.

“The study offers hope to women, families and children,” said study author Roberto Romero, from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the USA. “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,” Roberto explained.

The study recommends that once women with a high-risk of premature birth are identified, they can be offered the treatment from the second trimester up until they give birth. This also appeared to reduce the rate of respiratory problems in the babies, which are a common complication for those born prematurely.

Find out more about premature babies’ development and warning signs that you’re going into labour prematurely.


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premature birth, preemie, baby, early, hormone, hormonal gel, progesterone gel, prevention, treatment, short cervix, prelonging, pregnancy, at-risk
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