Does 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate prevent recurrent preterm birth in obese women?

Published:August 11, 2015DOI:


      We sought to determine if maternal weight or body mass index (BMI) modifies the effectiveness of 17-alpha hydroxyprogesterone caproate (17OHP-C).

      Study Design

      We performed a secondary analysis of the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network Trial for the Prevention of Recurrent Preterm Delivery by 17-Alpha Hydroxyprogesterone Caproate. Binomial regression models were estimated to determine the relative risk (RR) of preterm birth (PTB) in women randomized to 17OHP-C vs placebo according to BMI category and maternal weight. Adjusted models considered inclusion of potential confounders.


      In all, 443 women with complete data were included. 17OHP-C is effective in preventing PTB <37 weeks only in women with prepregnancy BMI <30 kg/m2 (RR, 0.54; 95% confidence interval, 0.43–0.68). Above this BMI threshold there is a nonsignificant trend toward an increased risk of PTB (RR, 1.55; 95% confidence interval, 0.83–2.89) with 17OHP-C treatment. When analyzing by maternal weight, a similar threshold is observed at 165 lb, above which 17OHP-C is no longer effective.


      The effectiveness of 17OHP-C is modified by maternal weight and BMI, and treatment does not appear to reduce the rate of PTB in women who are obese or have a weight >165 lb. This finding may be due to subtherapeutic serum levels in women with increased BMI or weight. Studies of adjusted-dose 17OHP-C in women who are obese or who weigh >165 lb are warranted, and current recommendations regarding the uniform use of 17OHP-C regardless of maternal BMI and weight may deserve reassessment.

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