Everything Pregnancy

Study: Progesterone Does Not Help Prevent Miscarriage

A new study finds progesterone is not effective in helping women who suffer from recurrent, unexplained miscarriage to conceive.

pregnant woman holding her belly Shutterstock
A new study out of the University of Birmingham puts an end to 60 years of uncertainty as to whether progesterone helps women who experience recurrent miscarriages have a healthy baby.

The study, which was published in The New England Journal of Medicine, looked at 826 women with previously unexplained, recurrent miscarriage. Researchers concluded treating women during their first trimesters with the hormone progesterone does not improve pregnancy outcomes any more than using a placebo. Almost 66 percent of women who took progesterone early in pregnancy had their baby, as did 63 percent in the placebo group. The findings held true no matter the women's age or pregnancy history.

It's worth noting that progesterone did not show any negative effects either, so women who take this hormone for other reasons don't have to worry.

Explains professor Arri Coomarasamy, a co-author of the study:

"We had hoped, like many people, that this research would confirm progesterone as an effective treatment. Though disappointing, it does address a question that has remained unanswered since progesterone was first proposed as a treatment back in 1953. Fortunately, there are a number of other positives that we can take from the trial as a whole. It may well be that progesterone supplements have other uses, such as preventing miscarriage in women with early pregnancy bleeding, so it's not the end of the road."

Researchers hope to direct their efforts elsewhere to help women who suffer from multiple, unexplained miscarriages.

Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.