OBJECTIVES: To determine the long-term effects of in utero progesterone exposure in twin children.
METHODS: This study evaluated the health and developmental outcomes of all surviving children born to mothers who participated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of progesterone given for the prevention of preterm birth in twin pregnancies (STOPPIT, ISRCTN35782581). Follow-up was performed via record linkage and two parent-completed validated questionnaires, the Child Development Inventory and the Health Utilities Index.
RESULTS: Record linkage was successfully performed on at least one record in 759/781 (97%) children eligible for follow-up. There were no differences between progesterone-exposed and placebo-exposed twins with respect to incidence of death, congenital anomalies and hospitalisation, nor on routine national child health assessments. Questionnaire responses were received for 324/738 (44%) children. The mean age at questionnaire follow-up was 55.5 months. Delay in at least one developmental domain on the Child Development Inventory was observed in 107/324 (33%) children, with no evidence of difference between progesterone-exposed and placebo-exposed twins. There was no evidence of difference between the progesterone and placebo groups in global health status assessed using the Health Utilities Index: 89% of children were rated as having 'excellent' health and a further 8% as having 'very good' health.
CONCLUSIONS: In this cohort of twin children there was no evidence of a detrimental or beneficial impact on health and developmental outcomes at three to six years of age due to in utero exposure to progesterone.