Your baby will be the healthiest when it is in the womb for the entire gestation period. But not all women can hold their babies that long. Preterm labor could lead to several developmental issues in the child.
Your doctor may suggest Progesterone doses to avoid premature births. But how safe is it to use? We will explain everything you need to know about Progesterone for preterm labor, read on.
What Is Progesterone?
The typical female hormone plays a pivotal role during pregnancy. It aids in stimulating various vital functions in the body. Your ovaries and adrenal glands produce the hormone, which allows your body to get prepared for conception and pregnancy. It also regulates your monthly menstrual cycle and helps to promote sexual desire (1).
Progesterone For Preterm Labor: It’s Role And Prevention
In early pregnancy, Progesterone helps in your uterus growth and protects you from severe contractions. If you experience repetitive contractions during your initial days of pregnancy, it can often lead to miscarriage. In the later stages of pregnancy, progesterone shots help in the production of breast milk and enhance your lung health. As a result, your lung supplies an adequate amount of oxygen to the growing fetus.
[ Read: Causes And Risks Of Preterm Labor ]
Progesterone Treatments That Doctors Prescribe:
1. Vaginal progesterone:
When you carry a single baby in your womb, vaginal progesterone reduces the risk of premature birth. It treats the condition of a short cervix and helps you step towards a healthy childbirth.
2. Progesterone shots:
If you already have a history of miscarriage or premature birth, your doctor may suggest you to take Progesterone shots. It helps in minimizing the risk of premature birth.
But when you carry twins and triplets, doctors may never recommend you to undergo the progesterone treatment. It is advisable to consult your GP to know if progesterone injection for preterm labor is required (2).
Details About Progesterone Shots:
The progesterone shots, also called 17 alpha-hydroxyprogesterone caproate (17P), may help you overcome the risk of premature birth. As you had a spontaneous premature birth in your previous pregnancy, your doctor may suggest you to take Progesterone shots for the latest one.
The term spontaneous implies that your labor began suddenly without the intake of any medications or methods. The sac carrying your baby broke suddenly, and you began having labor pain.
The doctor begins Progesterone shots to prevent preterm labor between your 16 and 24 weeks of pregnancy, and you have to take one shot per week until you reach the 37th week. Researchers conclude that Progesterone shots may help you overcome the risk of preterm labor. Doctors may give the shots in your buttocks using a syringe and needle.
What Are Progesterone Suppositories:
One of the other ways to intake Progesterone is through vaginal insertion. It comes in three forms –tablet, gel, and suppository. You may not suffer from any pain while taking such suppositories through your vagina.
You have to place the suppository into the vagina twice or thrice a day for up to ten weeks. With the gradual passage of time, the Progesterone suppositories dissolve. It is quite safe and an efficient method to avoid preterm labor.
Side Effects Of Progesterone Suppositories:
Progesterone suppositories include the female hormone that works by altering your uterine lining. Some of the common side effects of Progesterone suppositories are:
One of the most common side effects of Progesterone suppositories is vomiting, and you can also experience severe nausea and stomach pain. You may get abdominal cramps caused due to bloating. Some pregnant women also suffer from severe constipation.
2. Vaginal Bleeding:
You may also experience pelvic cramping and mild vaginal bleeding with the intake of Progesterone suppositories. When you place the suppository in your vagina, you may also feel a burning sensation or irritation. Your breasts become tender, and you suffer from persistent headaches.
[ Read: Vaginal Bleeding During Pregnancy ]
3. Excessive Tiredness:
Intake of Progesterone suppositories can make you feel excessively tired, irritable and moody.
4. Severe Depression:
Excessive intake of Progesterone suppositories may worsen your mental condition and make you feel depressed.
5. Cerebrovascular Changes:
You may rarely feel these adverse effects. But some of the common signs of Cerebrovascular changes during pregnancy are difficulty in speaking, sudden vomiting, and dizziness, weakness in an arm or leg or experiencing a stroke. In any of these circumstances, seek medical help immediately.
6. Blood Clots:
Rarely you can experience clotting of blood as an adverse effect of Progesterone suppositories. Some of the common symptoms of blood clots may include coughing up blood, severe chest pain, and difficulty in breathing (3).
[ Read: Blood Clots During Pregnancy ]
Natural Ways To Prevent Preterm Labor:
Prepare for a healthy childbirth by following these simple tips:
1. Be Active:
- During pregnancy try to perform gentle activities to maintain healthy muscle strength and power.
- If you had a practice of exercising regularly, try to keep yourself engaged in certain light exercises during pregnancy.
- Avoid performing strenuous physical activities like weight-lifting or swimming during the last trimester.
- Practice exercises which impose less pressure on your lower abdomen.
2. Follow Hygiene Etiquette:
- In later stages of pregnancy, you may have an increased urge to urinate. Therefore, you need to pay utmost emphasis to hygiene, as it can protect you from urinary tract infections.
- Harmful infections can cause your fetal membrane to rupture suddenly, and may result in preterm labor.
- You can wear cotton panties, and wash your hands with antibacterial soap each time you use the toilet.
[ Read: Hygiene During Pregnancy ]
3. Prenatal Vitamins:
- You may have to take multivitamin capsules to restore your health conditions and overcome the risk of preterm labor.
4. Eat Well-Balanced Diet:
- Your body should get a constant supply of healthy nutrients and minerals for optimum growth of your fetus.
- Medical experts may advise you to eat small meals at regular intervals of time. Instead of eating three large meals, you can have five meals a day regularly.
- Eating small meals may help you overcome both morning sickness and risk of preterm labor.
5. Urinate Regularly:
- When you feel the urge to urinate, do not hesitate to visit the toilet as it may lead to cystitis.
- If your urinary bladder gets inflamed, it can stimulate sudden uterine contractions leading to preterm labor (4).
Did the doctor suggest you to take Progesterone suppositories during your pregnancy? Did you experience any of the side effects? Tell us more about it here!
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