Progestational agents and preterm birth: An updated review of the literature

Amy McSpadden, The University of Texas School of Public Health


The preterm birth rate has been increasing over time in the United States, causing a large social and individual financial burden. Though the cause of preterm birth is now known, risk factors such as a previous preterm birth and a short cervical length have been identified as possible predictors. There are many contributing social and behavioral factors that play a role was well as medical problems that occur before and during pregnancy. Though there have been prevention methods identified, such as prenatal care, tocolytic therapy and cervical cerclage, none of these methods have shown to definitively prevent preterm birth over a long period of time. 17 alpha hydroxyprogesterone has been recognized as a possible prevention method for women at high risk for preterm birth. Three out of the five studies assessed in this review showed a significant reduction in preterm birth with administration of progesterone, both for women with a previous preterm birth and with a short cervical length. Currently there is no standard of care for those at high risk for preterm birth. More large clinical trials need to be conducted to determine if this progesterone for the prevention of preterm birth is effective.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

McSpadden, Amy, "Progestational agents and preterm birth: An updated review of the literature" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1450283.