Every 5 minutes, 50 pre-mature babies are born worldwide. Approximately 12.9 million births worldwide are preterm (<37 weeks of gestation); and 500,000 in USA. Pre-term birth leads to other complications such as cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorders, developmental delays, and death.
According the statistics from the March of Dimes*:
- The annual societal economic cost of premature birth in the U.S. is more than $26.2 billion per year.
*March of Dimes funds lifesaving research and programs and works to end premature birth, birth defects and infant mortality.
What’s the Solution?
According to a 2012 research article in American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, vaginal progesterone can minimize the risk of preterm births. The full study can be found here (http://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378(11)02358-1/abstract). Vaginal progesterone reduces both “early” and “late” preterm births.
How Does This Impact Health Care?
It is now possible to prevent a large fraction of preterm births in women with a short cervix using vaginal progesterone. Progesterone is a natural hormone produced by the ovary and the placenta.
Universal implementation of cervical ultrasound and vaginal progesterone is estimated to result in the prevention of approximately 30,000 preterm births at <35 weeks in the U.S. per year, with an annual savings of more than $500 million in health care costs.
According To Experts
“The results of this study provide compelling evidence that vaginal progesterone administration to women with a short cervix is an effective strategy to reduce preterm birth,” said Dr. Roberto Romero, Chief of the Perinatology Research Branch (PRB) of the National Institutes of Health. This makes progesterone the most powerful strategy to reduce preterm birth developed thus far.
Dr. Sonia S. Hassan, Director of the PRB’s Center for Advanced Obstetrical Care and Research, Associate Dean for Maternal, Perinatal and Child Health at Wayne State University School of Medicine and a co-author, suggested that “physicians and health care professionals caring for all pregnant women should counsel patients that there is a test to identify patients at risk for preterm birth. Pregnant women should be advised to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound to detect a short cervix between 19 and 24 weeks. Our recommendation of using 90 mg/day [of natural progesterone] is based on the analysis of the study published today, indicating that there is no difference in the effectiveness of progesterone if we use 90-100 mg/day versus 200 mg/day.”
Interested In Learning More?
Great Earth Pharmacy has been working with doctors for years to compound vaginal progesterone suppositories. For more please visit our website or call us for a free consultation at 310-550-1822.