CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Geburtshilfe Frauenheilkd 2019; 79(08): 844-853
DOI: 10.1055/a-0854-6472
GebFra Science
Review/Übersicht
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Progesterone for the Prevention of Preterm Birth – an Update of Evidence-Based Indications

Article in several languages: English | deutsch
Ruben-J. Kuon
1  Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg, Abteilung für Gynäkologische Endokrinologie und Fertilitätsstörungen, Frauenklinik, Heidelberg, Germany
,
Pauline Voß
1  Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg, Abteilung für Gynäkologische Endokrinologie und Fertilitätsstörungen, Frauenklinik, Heidelberg, Germany
,
Werner Rath
2  Medizinische Fakultät Gynäkologie und Geburtshilfe, Universitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, Kiel, Germany
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

received 09 December 2018
revised 05 February 2019

accepted 10 February 2019

Publication Date:
12 August 2019 (online)

  

Abstract

The prevention and treatment of preterm birth remains one of the biggest challenges in obstetrics. Worldwide, 11% of all children are born prematurely with far-reaching consequences for the children concerned, their families and the health system. Experimental studies suggest that progesterone inhibits uterine contractions, stabilises the cervix and has immunomodulatory effects. Recent years have seen the publication of numerous clinical trials using progestogens for the prevention of preterm birth. As a result of different inclusion criteria and the use of different progestogens and their methods of administration, it is difficult to draw comparisons between these studies. A critical evaluation of the available studies was therefore carried out on the basis of a search of the literature (1956 to 09/2018). Taking into account the most recent randomised, controlled studies, the following evidence-based recommendations emerge: In asymptomatic women with singleton pregnancies and a short cervical length on ultrasound of ≤ 25 mm before 24 weeks of gestation (WG), daily administration of vaginal progesterone (200 mg capsule or 90 mg gel) up until 36 + 6 WG leads to a significant reduction in the preterm birth rate and an improvement in neonatal outcome. The latest data also suggest positive effects of treatment with progesterone in cases of twin pregnancies with a short cervical length on ultrasound of ≤ 25 mm before 24 WG. The study data for the administration of progesterone in women with singleton pregnancies with a previous preterm birth have become much more heterogeneous, however. It is not possible to make a general recommendation for this indication at present, and decisions must therefore be made on a case-by-case basis. Even if progesterone use is considered to be safe in terms of possible long-term consequences, exposure should be avoided where it is not indicated. Careful patient selection is crucial for the success of treatment.