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Pregnant women at higher risk of miscarriage to be offered progesterone that could save thousands of babies

Around 7,200 women with prior miscarriage and bleeding in early pregnancy could be eligible for treatment with progesterone each year

Pregnant women at a higher risk of miscarriage are set to be offered a new hormone treatment to help prevent pregnancy loss.

Around 7,200 women with prior miscarriage and bleeding in early pregnancy could be eligible for treatment with progesterone in England and Wales each year.

The treatment can be offered after new guidance was released by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice).

Tommy’s, the charity that conducted research into the treatment’s benefits, said the move would “help save babies’ lives and spare parents heartache”.

Offering at-risk pregnant women progesterone could prevent as many as 8,450 miscarriages each year, according to research by Tommy’s.

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Between 20 per cent and 25 per cent of pregnancies end in a miscarriage – the loss of a pregnancy during the first 23 weeks. The experience can have a major clinical and psychological impact on women and their families.

Nice’s independent guidelines committee said the hormone should not be offered to women with early pregnancy bleeding but no previous miscarriage, nor to women with previous miscarriage but no early pregnancy bleeding in the current pregnancy. It has called for more research in these two areas.

Jane Brewin, Tommy’s chief executive, said: “It’s great to see Nice taking our progesterone research on board in their new miscarriage care guidelines, which will help save babies’ lives and spare parents heartache.

“Miscarriage is often dismissed as ‘one of those things’ we can’t do anything about – even by some healthcare professionals, who may not specialise in this area [and not] know the latest evidence.

“We hear from women who were denied progesterone treatment when they should have been eligible, simply because their doctor wasn’t familiar with it, so we hope Nice’s recommendation will help end some of these inequalities in miscarriage care that add more pain to an already unbearable experience.”

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Professor Arri Coomarasamy, director of Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research at the University of Birmingham, said: “The miscarriage care guidelines from Nice include a very welcome change, after many years researching the use of progesterone and working to make treatment more accessible.

“Our research has shown that progesterone is a robust and effective treatment option but we know it’s not yet reaching everyone who might benefit.”

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