Antenatal Steroids in Preterm Deliveries Prevent Neonatal RDS and Shortens NICU Stay

Steroids at 34-36 weeks’ and before term cesarean decrease respiratory distress syndrome

Clinical Question:
Should antenatal corticosteroid treatment be used for women at risk of late premature delivery or women undergoing planned cesarean delivery?

Bottom Line:
For women admitted for imminent premature delivery at 34 to 36 weeks of gestation, 1 or 2 doses of betamethasone or dexamathasone (8-12 mg) decreases the likelihood
of neonatal respiratory distress syndrome and shortens lengths of stay in the intensive care unit. One or two doses given to women 48 hours before a planned cesarean delivery at term is also effective in decreasing respiratory distress. Neonatal hypoglycemia is increased but, as shown in a separate study, there is no long-term harm to treatment, at least up to ages 6 to 8 years (Pediatrics 2016; 138(4):e20160947). (LOE = 1a)

Saccone S, Berghella V. Antenatal corticosteroids for maturity
of term or near term fetuses: systematic review and meta-analysis of
randomized controlled trials. BMJ 2016;355:i5044.


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