Progesterone could be key to preventing recurrent miscarriage

A new study has revealed that progesterone could be key to preventing recurrent miscarriage.

According to researchers at the Yale School of Medicine and University of Illinois at Chicago, US, progesterone could give hope to women who suffer multiple miscarriages in the first four to five weeks of pregnancy.

The researchers revealed that intrauterine foetal demise (IUFD) currently affects approximately 30,000 women each year in the US, while 25 per cent of all women who become pregnant suffer a loss in the first trimester.

However, some women suffer a loss every time they are pregnant. The researchers went about studying the effects of micronised plant-derived progesterone in 116 women who had experienced two or more pregnancy losses up to that point.

The researchers used the endometrial function test (EFT), which was created by study co-author Dr Harvey Kliman, director of the Reproductive and Placental Research Unit in the Yale Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, in order to determine whether a woman’s endometrium is healthy and can sustain the embryo.

According to the researchers, an abnormal EFT is associated with pregnancy failure, while a normal EFT is associated with a successful pregnancy. They prescribed progesterone two days after ovulation to women in the study with an abnormal nCyclinE molecular marker level. It is at this time when the uterine lining matures in preparation for a potential pregnancy.

The researchers said they believe that the progesterone caused the patients’ endometrium to produce more endometrial secretions. Dr Kliman explained: “The endometrium feeds the baby up until the eighth week of pregnancy. Then at nine to ten weeks, the mother’s blood takes over to feed the embryo.”

He went on to add: “In this subset of women experiencing multiple early miscarriages, we assume that their embryos were literally starving to death. They attached, but they were not getting enough food. When we give progesterone back to these women, the endometrium makes more nutrients and prevents their pregnancy loss.”