Pregnant mom holds stuffed animal at baby shower

Pregnancy outcomes

Premature birth is the leading cause of serious health problems and death for newborn babies in Ohio. Learn how to help prevent preterm birth.

Progesterone and premature birth

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ohio Department of Health, infant mortality rates in Ohio:1,2

  • Are trending down, but
  • Are higher than rates in 80% of the country

In 2018, per 1,000 live births:

  • Black babies died at nearly 3 times the rate of white babies
  • Infant mortality rates for Black babies and white babies was higher than the national average

The leading causes of infant death in Ohio are prematurity-related conditions, including:

  • Preterm births before 37 weeks of pregnancy has been reached
  • Low birth weight
  • Respiratory distress syndrome
  • Neonatal hemorrhage
  • Congenital anomalies/birth defects
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

Progesterone, known as the “hormone of pregnancy”:

  • Can help reduce the chances of premature birth for some women
  • Is a natural and important hormone because of the role it plays in getting pregnant and carrying the baby to full term

During pregnancy, a woman’s progesterone level rises. Some women may benefit from extra progesterone in a future pregnancy. Her OB-GYN can prescribe progesterone.

Get more information from the Ohio Department of Health about how progesterone can help prevent preterm delivery

Ohio Perinatal Quality Collaborative (OPQC) Progesterone Project

The Ohio Perinatal Quality Collaborative (OPQC) Progesterone Project’s goal is to decrease premature births in Ohio before 32 weeks by 10%. It helps:

  • Identify women with increased risk early in pregnancy
  • Make available progesterone treatment

Learn more about the Prematurity Prevention (Progesterone) Project

We partner with the Ohio Department of Medicaid to make sure every child gets a healthy start.


  1. “Infant Mortality Rates by State,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, last accessed January 26, 2023,
  2. “Infant Vitality,” Ohio Department of Health, last accessed January 26, 2023,

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