Catholic researchers have been treating pregnant women with progesterone for decades.
A recent study has shown that progesterone supplements may decrease the incidence of miscarriage among pregnant women, reported the Catholic News Agency.
Progesterone is a hormone produced by the ovaries, which prepares the body for implantation and later suppresses uterine contractions and early labor. It is routinely used in in vitro therapy. And, according to the CNA, by the Pope Paul VI Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction, for the treatment of pregnant women.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Birmingham in the UK, was conducted on 4,000 pregnant women who had experienced bleeding during pregnancy. Half of the group was given progesterone supplements, and the other half placebos. Of those given progesterone, there was a 15% increase in the live birth rate compared to those who took the placebos.
Teresa Kenney, a nurse practitioner with the Pope Paul VI institute, told CNA that they have used progesterone to treat pregnant women at risk of miscarriage for decades.
“The research that we’ve done here has identified progesterone as a significant factor in pregnancies who are at risk for miscarriage or premature labor. We’ve been using it here for three decades safely and effectively, and our outcomes are very good with that,” she said.
Since the FDA has not approved the use of progesterone in pregnancy for the prevention of miscarriage, it is not prescribed by doctors, according to the CNA report.
For patients who experience progesterone deficiency, causing them to have recurrent miscarriages, progesterone supplements could be a godsend.
Dr. Kathleen Raviele, an OB-GYN and former president of the Catholic Medical Association, told CNA of one patient, who after having had six consecutive miscarriages, began taking progesterone supplements and went on to have two full-term babies.
“It’s such an easy thing to do, if that’s what the problem is,” Raviele told CNA.
Arri Coomarasamy, study leader and consultant gynecologist at Birmingham Women and Children’s Hospital, told the BBC said the treatment could make a huge difference for many women.
“We hope that this evidence will be considered by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and that it will be used to update national guidelines for women at risk of miscarriage,” he said.
Until then, when woman are at risk of miscarrying because of low levels of progesterone “there is nothing we can offer them,” he said..