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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Prematurity Prevention Working With Progesterone Use!

Preterm pregnancy remains the leading cause of neonatal death and long-term neurologic disabilities according to a January 2014 article in Obstetrics & Gynecology. The preterm birth rate is lower, but not as low as our national goals said the annual March of Dimes Premature BirthReport Card released in November of 2013. Still about 500,000 premature infants are born in the us, for a staggering $26 billion dollar price tag for their care per year. Babies have about 11% chance of being born prematurely, and we want that under 1/10. In my home state of Illinois, the rate has remained stuck around 12%. California, New York, and Oregon are among states who have reached that goal of under 1/10 babies born premature. the far southern states of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana are reporting the highest rates of prematurity. In an original research article by Markam et of The Ohio State University has noted that the use of newer more aggressive strategies to use progesterone vaginally, has reduced their prematurity rate. the medication is a weekly injection of 250 mg of 17 alpha-hydroxyprogesterone caproate, and for some vaginal progesterone in a 200 mg suppository can be used. We are still better at getting babies from the range of 35 weeks to be born after 37 weeks, and less successful at reducing the very premature born before 32 weeks. If you have had a prior premature baby, and are pregnant or planning pregnancy, see your gyno to discuss what strategies you can use to help prevent prematurity.

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