Published: 2019-06-29

Vaginal progesterone in risk reduction of preterm birth in women with short cervix

Shubhi Srivastava, D. Borgohain


Background: Preterm birth is a global health problem affecting the neonate, family and country in general. It is the leading cause of perinatal mortality and morbidity. Short cervical length detected on transvaginal ultrasound is the most practical risk factor for prediction of preterm birth. The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy and safety of vaginal progesterone in reducing the rate of preterm birth in women with a short cervix and to determine its effect on neonatal mortality and morbidity.

Methods: The study was carried out in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Assam Medical College, Dibrugarh for a period of one year. It included 128 asymptomatic women with a singleton pregnancy and a sonographic short cervix. Women were randomly divided into two groups, one of which was given placebo and the other was given vaginal progesterone and a comparative study was conducted.

Results: It was observed that delivery before 37 weeks of gestation was less frequent in the progesterone group than in the placebo group (60.94% vs. 90.63%). Vaginal progesterone was also associated with a significant reduction in adverse neonatal outcomes like the rate of sepsis (6.25% vs. 18.75%), requirement of ventilator (12.5% vs. 26.56%), admission to NICU (10.94% vs. 26.56%) and birth weight ≤1.5kg (7.81% vs. 21.88%).

Conclusions: Vaginal progesterone reduces the risk of preterm birth and adverse perinatal outcomes in pregnant women without any deleterious effects on the foetus or mother.


Neonatal morbidity, Preterm birth, Progesterone, Short cervix

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