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Hormone lowers risk for some twin births

The risk of pre-term birth for a specific group of twin pregnancies could be halved, international research has found.

The University of Adelaide's Robinson Research Institute was involved in the study, which involved a review of 13 large studies conducted over the past decade that trialled the use of progestogen hormones to help prevent pre-term birth in twins.

Published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the results revealed an important discovery had been missed in the previous studies.

"Until now, the research has demonstrated that there has been no benefit from the use of progestogen hormones in preventing pre-term birth for women with a twin pregnancy," co-author professor Ben Mol from the University of Adelaide said. "Thanks to this international review, we can now see that there is a very specific benefit to one group of high-risk pregnancies: women who have a short cervix who are pregnant with twins.

"Twin pregnancies are very much at risk of preterm birth, with half of these pregnancies delivering before 37 weeks' gestation. For women with a short cervix who are also pregnant with twins, this is what I would call a super high-risk category for adverse outcomes, either for infant death or for serious health problems after birth.”

The team found that using progestogen hormones resulted in a 50 per cent reduction in risk of pre-term birth for this group of pregnancies. “That's a very significant result, and one that we hope will help to save lives and prevent future heartache for couples who are trying to have children,” Mol said.

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