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Progesterone does not Reduce Women’s Risk of having Miscarriages, Study Says

Update Date: Nov 27, 2015 09:41 AM EST

Women with a history of miscarriages did not have a lower risk of having another one even with the help of progesterone, a new study reported.

For this study, researchers set out to examine the effects of treating women with progesterone during the first trimester. Previous studies have found that progesterone could potentially reduce risk of having a miscarriage in women who have a history of miscarriages.

The team recruited more than 800 female participants at 36 sites in Britain and nine in The Netherlands. The researchers randomly gave a select group of women progesterone while the remaining participants received a placebo. The doctors and the participants did not know who was getting the treatment and who was getting the placebo.

The delivery rate between the progesterone group and the control group was not significantly different. 65.8 percent of the women who received the hormone gave birth and 63.3 percent of the women who did not get progesterone gave birth.

"It's an awfully good study, and the first well-designed study on this topic," Dr. Samantha M. Pfeifer, the chairwoman of the practice committee for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, commented reported by the New York Times. She was not involved in the study. "There's always disappointment whenever you find out that a magic bullet isn't a magic bullet."

Although the team did not find that progesterone helped prevent miscarriages, they did find that the supplemental progesterone did not increase risk of congenital abnormalities.

Some critics of the study stated that the researchers could have started giving women progesterone earlier on. Others stated that the researchers should have included women who did not have chromosomal errors since chromosomal errors are often related to miscarriages. The likelihood that a woman will have chromosomal errors increases with age.

"No amount of progesterone or any medication can fix a situation where the fetus doesn't have the right number of chromosomes," said Dr. Zev Williams at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.

The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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