Groundbreaking research suggests progesterone could prevent 8000 miscarriages a year

Approximately 8,000 miscarriages could be prevented each year by offering women who have suffered multiple miscarriages the hormone progesterone.

A study suggests that progesterone may help prevent future pregnancy loss and estimated that a course of progesterone would cost an average of £204 per pregnancy.

Researchers from the University of Birmingham and Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research carried out an investigation exploring whether a course of the hormone could be used to prevent miscarriage.

Between 20-25 per cent of pregnancies end in a miscarriage in the first 23 weeks and can have a psychological effect on women and their families.

The first of the studies, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, examined the findings of two major clinical trials - Promise and Prism.

Promise studied 836 women with unexplained recurrent miscarriages at over 35 hospitals in the UK and the Netherlands. It found that there is a 3 per cent higher live birth rate with progesterone. However, with little evidence to suggest how effective it is at the moment.

Prism studied 4,153 women with early pregnancy bleeding at 48 hospitals in the UK. It found a 5 per cent increase in the number of babies born to those who were given progesterone compared to those given a placebo.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), said it is currently updating its guideline on the diagnosis and initial management of ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage to consider new evidence on progesterone in treating threatened miscarriage.

Dr Pat O'Brien, consultant and vice president of The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said that the treatment offers an increased chance of a successful birth and appears to be cost effective for the NHS.

"We hope Nice will consider this important research in their next update of the guidance," O'Brien said.