The Story Began: Preemies, Prevention and Progesterone (17P): My First Preemie
The Story Continued: Preemies, Prevention and Progesterone (17P): My Second Pregnancy
A relatively new treatment women may choose to help prevent recurring spontaneous preterm labor and delivery is to receive weekly injections of a type of progesterone, even if these levels are within normal ranges during pregnancy. This progesterone injection is referred to as “17P” (17 Alpha-Hydroxyprogesterone Caproate), a type of progestin, similar to our naturally occurring progesterone, and has been shown in studies to significantly reduce the chances of recurrent spontaneous preterm labor.
A little background about natural progesterone, as it is known as the “hormone of pregnancy”, because it helps the uterus maintain the pregnancy. Progesterone works in a many ways, including:
- causes the uterine lining to thicken for implantation of the fertilized egg
- prevents uterine contractions
The 17P injections have been shown effective and safe in clinical studies. Overall, similar results have been found in numerous studies: women who have received treatment with 17P significantly reduced the risk of delivery at less than 37 weeks gestation. (Sources below).
A full-term pregnancy is defined as delivering after the 37th week, and most women's EDD (estimated due date) is during her 40th week.
The studies I consulted found that 17P not only lowered the overall risk of delivery before 37 weeks gestation, it significantly reduced the risk of preterm delivery at other gestational ages as well. In fact, one study found women with first deliveries at 20-27 week gestation, as well as first deliveries at between 28-33.9 week gestation, delivered at more advanced gestational ages if treated with 17P than compared with the placebo group. (Sources below)