As moms seek new and better ways to prevent prematurity, many are looking to progesterone treatments to help reduce their risk of prematurity by as much as 45%.
“Progesterone treatments help maintain a supportive environment for the developing fetus, which increases a woman’s chance of delivering a healthy, full-term baby,” said Dr. Stephen Crane, chairman of maternal fetal medicine at Akron Children’s Hospital. “Progesterone treatments can be administered as part of our home care group, which offers women an effective, easy and convenient way to decrease premature birth.”
Progesterone treatments supplement the body’s hormone production that’s involved in stimulating the uterus to grow to accommodate a developing baby and keeps the uterus from contracting. Treatment comes in 2 forms: daily vaginal progesterone, in the form of suppositories, or weekly progesterone shots.
Ideally, progesterone treatments start at the mother’s 16th week of pregnancy. For those who receive weekly shots, the medication is administered in the upper part of the hip each week through the 37th week of pregnancy.
Home care convenience
For many moms-to-be, making the weekly trip to the doctor can be difficult – inclement weather, arranging care for their children and other factors can become a burden. Home care makes getting progesterone shots less stressful for patients.
A home care visit usually lasts around 30 to 45 minutes, although the first visit is a little longer.
During the visit, the home care nurse:
- Checks the baby’s heartbeat using a fetal Doppler
- Monitors the mother’s weight
- Collects mother’s blood pressure and pulse
- Asks questions about the mother’s overall health
- Answers any questions the mother has about her pregnancy
- Provides education on healthy lifestyle behaviors
- Reviews the signs and symptoms of preterm labor
- Helps develop an emergency plan and home risk assessment
- Administers the progesterone shot
Afterward, the home care nurse sends a report about the visit to the woman’s healthcare provider.
For moms like Shelly Branch, who’ve had premature deliveries in the past, progesterone treatments have been shown to reduce the chances of another premature delivery by 35%.
Having weekly progesterone treatments delivered at home helps alleviate the worry and hassle many high-risk pregnant women face.
Besides convenience, many moms find comfort in home care visits because someone is checking in with them in person, in their home, each week.
“My home care nurse was always really pleasant and included my 2-year-old, Elliot, by letting him listen to the baby’s heartbeat and getting out the scale from her bag,” said Shelly. “She made me feel like I was being taken care of and everything with my pregnancy was being watched closely.”
To the delight of many, Shelley’s new son, Riley, was born full-term on Feb. 20, 2015, weighing just over 6 lbs. and measuring 20 ½ in. long.