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Can Susten injections help prevent premature delivery?

Q: I am 32 weeks pregnant for the second time. My first baby was born at 33 weeks. So, this time to avoid premature delivery, Susten 200 mg injection is being given to me from the 30th week every 15 days once. The doctor has advised to take the injection till 36 weeks – all for 4 times. Is it safe to artificially stop premature delivery?

A:The fact that you had pre-term delivery last time does not mean that either you are prone to it or that the same thing will be repeated. In any case Susten (progesterone) is not indicated to prevent pre-mature birth. Progesterones are indicated for the treatment of habitual abortion, endometriosis, infertility due to inadequate luteal phase, etc. Unfortunately some companies are promoting their brands of highly profitable progesterones as if they are tonics. One company in India has produced a leaflet to claim that its brand helps pregnancy. Such vague, unapproved claims are not legally allowed. Many internationally eminent gynaecologists are against the use of progesterones during pregnancy. Among other things they can cause masculinisation of female babies (unwanted hairs on the face etc.). Unless labour starts ahead of expected date, nothing needs to be done. In the unlikely event of such a situation happening, tocolytic medicines such as isoxsuprine (Duvadilan), salbutamol, ritodrine, etc. are employed. There are many other medicines for this purpose. However such measures are neither necessary nor desirable after 34 weeks if neonatal support is available. Overuse of medicines and attempting to forestall delivery are also not good for the mother.

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