Progesterone for preterm birth prevention

  • Miha Lucovnik Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Division of Perinatology, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Tanja Premru Sršen Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Division of Perinatology, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Slovenia
Keywords: progesterone, gestagens, preterm birth, pregnancy, uterine cervix


Background: Progesterone is important in maintaining pregnancy. Progesterone supplementation may reduce risk of preterm birth in certain populations of pregnant women. The objective of this review was to develop evidence-based clinical recommendation for progesterone treatment in the prevention of preterm birth.

Methods: A search in the Medline database was performed using keywords: progesterone, pregnancy, preterm birth, preterm labour, preterm delivery, randomized trial, and randomized controlled trial. We only included studies of vaginal progesterone treatments for the prevention of preterm birth and excluded studies on 17-α-hydroksiprogesterone caproate.

Results: We report findings from twelve randomized trials conducted since 2003. These trials differ regarding inclusion criteria, progesterone dose, vehicle used, and duration of treatment. Inclusion criteria were: short uterine cervix (two trials), history of previous preterm birth (two trials), signs and symptoms of preterm labour (three trials), twin pregnancies (three trials), and multiple risk factors (among these history of previous preterm birth was the most common) (two trials). Six of these twelve trials showed a significant reduction in preterm birth in the progesterone groups.

Conclusions: Based on current evidence we recommend treatment with 200 mg of micronized progesterone daily, administered vaginally, in pregnant women found to have a short cervix (≤ 25 mm) at 19-24 weeks. The treatment should be continued until 37 weeks.


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Author Biographies

Miha Lucovnik, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Division of Perinatology, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Slovenia

Doc. dr. Miha Lučovnik, dr. med.

KO za perinatologijo

Ginekološka klinika

Univerzitetni Klinični Center Ljubljana

Šlajmerjeva 3

Tanja Premru Sršen, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Division of Perinatology, University Medical Centre Ljubljana, Slovenia

Asist. dr. Tanja Premru Sršen, dr. med.

KO za perinatologijo

Ginekološka klinika

Univerzitetni Klinični Center Ljubljana

Šlajmerjeva 3


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How to Cite
Lucovnik M, Premru Sršen T. Progesterone for preterm birth prevention. ZdravVestn [Internet]. 6Oct.2015 [cited 23Aug.2019];84(9). Available from: