INTRODUCTION: Preterm birth is the most common cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality. Women with twin pregnancies and a short cervical length are at high risk for preterm birth. Vaginal progesterone and cervical pessary have been proposed as potential strategies to reduce preterm birth in this high-risk population. Therefore, we aimed to compare the effectiveness of cervical pessary and vaginal progesterone in improving developmental outcomes of children born to women with twin pregnancies and mid-trimester short cervical length.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: This was a follow-up study (NCT04295187) of all children at 24 months of age, born from women treated with cervical pessary or progesterone to prevent preterm birth in a randomized controlled trial (NCT02623881). We used a validated Vietnamese version of Ages & Stages Third Edition Questionnaires (ASQ-3) and a red flag questionnaire. In surviving children, we compared the mean ASQ-3 scores, abnormal ASQ-3 scores, the number of children with any abnormal ASQ-3 scores and red flag signs between the two groups. We reported the composite outcome of perinatal death or survival with any abnormal ASQ-3 score in offspring. These outcomes were also calculated in a subgroup of women with a cervical length ≤28 mm (<25th percentile).
RESULTS: In the original randomized controlled trial, we randomized 300 women to pessary or progesterone. After counting the number of perinatal deaths and lost to follow-up, 82.8% parents in the pessary group and 82.5% parents in progesterone group returned the questionnaire. The mean ASQ-3 scores of the five skills and red flag signs did not differ significantly between the two groups. However, the percentage of children having abnormal ASQ-3 scores in fine motor skills was significantly lower in the progesterone group (6.1% vs 1.3%, P = 0.01). There were no significant differences in the composite outcome of perinatal death or survival with any abnormal ASQ-3 score in unselected women and in those with cervical length ≤28 mm.
CONCLUSIONS: Cervical pessary and vaginal progesterone may have comparable effects on developmental outcomes in children at ≥24 months of age, born to women with twin pregnancies and short cervical length. However, this finding could be likely due to a lack of study power.
Bibliographical noteThe study was funded by My Duc Hospital.
- cervical pessary
- developmental outcomes
- red flag signs
- twin pregnancy
- Vaginal progesterone