When Do Pregnant Women Need Progesterone Shots?
I’m pregnant. I've heard that progesterone shots can prevent early labor. Should I get them?
Babies born too early (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) can have health problems, including:
- breathing and feeding problems
- vision problems
- learning problems
Some premature babies do not survive.
The progesterone shot (sometimes called "17P" for the drug name [17 alpha-hydroxyprogesterone caproate] or its brand name, Makena®) can increase a woman's chances of having a full-term baby.
17P has the hormone in it, which helps prevent contractions. The uterus contracts during labor to help "push" a baby out of the womb for delivery.
Doctors recommend starting 17P shots during the second trimester of pregnancy, usually between 16 and 20 weeks. Shots are given by a health care provider in the hip or thigh area. They are given until 37 weeks.
As with any shot, there's a risk of minor side effects like redness and soreness at the shot site. Rarely, some women get blood clots or have allergic reactions.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995- KidsHealth® All rights reserved.
Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.