Miscarriage sufferers could benefit from new treatment
Health watching NICE recommends progesterone in prevention of early miscarriage
New guidance from health watchdog The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) says progesterone is recommended to prevent early miscarriage.
Research by the watchdog has shown that the hormone progesterone should be used to treat women experiencing bleeding in early pregnancy and who had experienced at least one miscarriage.
The NICE trial revealed that naturally occurring hormone helps to prepare the womb for the growing baby and the hormone was more effective for women the more miscarriages they have suffered.
Based on the research conducted, the suggestion is that using progesterone as a treatment could result in as many as 8,450 more births in the UK a year.
NICE’s guidance advises that progesterone is inserted into the vagina via a pessary twice a day.
Bleeding in pregnancy
Bleeding or spotting (especially during the first 12 weeks) doesn’t always mean that you are having a miscarriage or that it is going to happen.
Bleeding and spotting may in fact be more common than you think. A study by the National Institute of Health found that 1 in 4 of the women participating in the study reported bleeding and 8% of the women experienced heavy bleeding.
Most of these episodes lasted less than 3 days and occurred between weeks 5 and 8 of pregnancy. Subsequent miscarriage was experienced by 8% of women with bleeding and 13% of those without.
Treating bleeding in pregnancy
The new guidance is based on a trial carried out at the Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research, that discovered treating bleeding in pregnancy with progesterone didn’t make as much difference to women who had suffered bleeding in pregnancy but not suffered from previous miscarriages.
The treatment proved more effective for the women who had previously suffered miscarriages.
Prof Arri Coomarasamy, from the University of Birmingham, who was involved in the Tommy's National Centre for Miscarriage Research, said: "This is a very significant moment.
"We have an intervention that works that can stop a miscarriage. This gives hope to thousands of couples throughout UK.
"But it's really important to appreciate that only some miscarriages can be prevented by progesterone.
"There are other causes for miscarriages. We still need to study them. We need to find other effective treatment."
Dr Edward Morris, President of Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists reiterated: "It is positive that NICE has acknowledged the latest evidence.
"We do, however, still have a way to go before understanding the best treatments for women experiencing unexplained pregnancy loss and would welcome further research in this area."