Background: Twelve percent of births in the United States occur before 37 weeks of gestation and therefore are considered preterm births (Norwitz, 2015). While the ability to identify women at risk for preterm birth has improved dramatically over the past three decades, the application of primary and secondary interventions has failed to reduce the incidence of preterm delivery, which has actually been on the rise (Norwitz, 2015). Preterm birth is a phenomenon that needs to be reduced not only in the United States, but also across the world. Purpose: To determine to what extent the use of supplemental progesterone in pregnancy can aid in preventing preterm labor, and more importantly preterm birth, in women who are at a high-risk for preterm birth. Results: Twenty articles were identified for review and appraised using the John Hopkins Research Evidence Appraisal Tool. The major findings of the reviewed literature concluded that the use of progestational agents is an effective measure in preventing preterm birth and improving neonatal outcomes. Conclusion: By reducing the rate of preterm birth, there is potential to reduce many other linked outcomes such as neonatal outcomes and costs related to premature delivery complications. Progestational agents are an effective measure in preventing preterm birth in high-risk women. Screening women for preterm birth risk factors early in their antenatal care is an appropriate primary prevention technique. The use of progestational agents in high-risk women is an appropriate secondary prevention technique that has shown many benefits. Implications for Research and Practice: There is a need for further research focusing specifically on multiple gestation pregnancies and pregnancies with known fetal anomalies and the use of progestational agents. Significant research has focused on singleton gestation pregnancies and pregnancies with known fetal anomalies excluded from these research studies. Additionally, further research needs to be conducted on optimal administration route, timing of administration, and studies investigating cost-effectiveness.
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Schroeder, L. M. (2016). The Use of Supplemental Progesterone in Preventing Preterm Birth in High-Risk Women: A Critical Review of the Literature [Masterʼs thesis, Bethel University]. Spark Repository. https://spark.bethel.edu/etd/569