Natural Progesterone Helps Baby Blues and Reduces Risk of Premature Births by Half

May 16, 2011

I was looking at a piece in the newspaper last week on some new research on women with post natal depression. There is a link between low levels of oxytocin during pregnancy and decreased ability to bond well with the baby and that has been shown as a factor in the ‘baby blues’. However, the suggestion that women who are likely to be more prone to this should be given oxytocin during their pregnancy as a ‘preventive’ doesn’t make much sense to me. If a woman is overdue then hospitals give oxytocin to start labour so that might give a women pause for thought over taking it during a pregnancy don’t you think? The risk of starting labour prematurely is a real one, and there is no need to take such action when there are alternatives available.

Previous research has confirmed that giving the hormone natural progesterone given during pregnancy, and afterwards, can help control post natal depression and also prevent miscarriage in the first trimester. If you know someone who is concerned about this then there are two excellent articles on dealing with post natal depression by Dr Tony Coope at

Premature Birth Risk Reduced by Half:
A new study published in the journal Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology has found that natural progesterone given to certain groups of pregnant women effectively reduced premature birth rates by 50 percent. Doctors working with natural hormones have for many years recommended natural progesterone to help women both before and during pregnancy and now this new study has identified pregnant women with a condition known as short cervix as being specifically lacking in progesterone.

Progesterone is an essential hormone released by the corpus luteum that stimulates the uterus to prepare for pregnancy, and provides optimum conditions in the body that are necessary for the furtherance of the pregnancy and the development of healthy babies.

For the study, Dr. Sonia S. Hassan and her team from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) assigned 458 pregnant women to either receive a once-daily dose of vaginal progesterone, or a once-daily dose of a placebo gel, during their second and third trimesters. While 16 percent of those in the placebo group gave birth before the 33rd week of pregnancy, only 8.9 percent in the progesterone group gave birth early.

Besides reducing the overall rate of preterm births, the progesterone also demonstrably reduced the rate of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), a breathing disorder linked to early births. Not only did the women themselves experience less cases of RDS as a result of taking progesterone, but so did their children. Infants whose mothers did not receive progesterone during their pregnancies were nearly three times more likely to develop RDS than children from mothers who took the hormone.

Dr. Roberto Romero, chief of the Perinatology Research Branch of NIH, said “The study … offers hope to women, families and children. Worldwide, more than 12 million premature babies — 500,000 of them in this country — are born each year, and the results are often tragic. Our clinical study clearly shows that it is possible to identify women at risk and reduce the rate of preterm delivery by nearly half, simply by treating women who have a short cervix with a natural hormone — progesterone.”

Although this study was done using progesterone gel, progesterone cream is a highly effective and rapid delivery method, as well as being cost effective, and I would like to see another study done using it.


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