Hormone doesn't reduce risk of childbirth complications

Apr 11, 2011

A hormone previously thought to reduce the risk of childbirth complications may be ineffective.

Giving birth always carries the risk of complications, which increase when a mother is pregnant with multiples. A drug thought to help reduce the chances of labor complications and pre-term birth for women pregnant with twins may actually not be as useful as previously believed, according to a recent study.

The study, which was presented at the annual Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine meeting, concerned the use of the hormone 17-hydroxyprogesterone in mothers pregnant with twins.

Researchers used a group of 240 mothers total, assigning 80 mothers from the group a placebo dosage and the other 160 the actual 17-hydroxyprogesterone hormone, they said. They found no significant difference between the the pregnancy stage at time of birth and the placebo group only had three neonatal deaths, determined to be unrelated to the absence of hormone use.

According to one author, Dr. C. Andrew Combs, the reason they chose to perform the study on twin mothers was because "that group is at a high risk of preterm delivery and we are always looking for something that will reduce those risks."

Not only can children die during labor, but mothers are also susceptible to childbirth-related deaths. Women concerned about the risk of maternal death should consider obtaining a term-life insurance policy while pregnant.  

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