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Should I take steroids during preterm labor?

Should I take steroids during preterm labor?


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Yes, it's a good idea. Steroids help speed up the development of your baby's lungs and some other organs, which greatly increases his chances of survival. That's why they're recommended by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

If you're between 24 and 34 weeks pregnant and likely to deliver a premature baby in the next week, both the NIH and ACOG recommend a single course of corticosteroids. (This is a type of steroid that crosses the placenta better than other types.) The course is usually given in two injections, 24 hours apart. In some cases, corticosteroids are given at 23 weeks.

In most cases, unless you're enrolled in a clinical trial, you won't be given a repeat course of corticosteroids in preterm labor. Your practitioner may consider giving you another dose, however, if your last treatment was more than two weeks ago, you're still less than 34 weeks pregnant, and you're likely to deliver within the next seven days. This repeat course of steroids, sometimes called a rescue dose, may be given as one injection.

Preterm babies whose moms receive corticosteroid treatment are less likely to suffer respiratory distress syndrome, bleeding in the brain, and systemic infection in the first 48 hours of life. Corticosteroid treatment has also been shown to lower a premature baby's risk of a potentially life-threatening disease, necrotizing enterocolitis.

Learn more about the medical conditions your preemie may face.

Experts are continuing to study possible risks of corticosteroid use. Studies have found that corticosteroid treatment is associated with smaller size at birth. In one large Finnish study, this smaller birth size held true for babies born preterm, near term, or at term. Others are studying the possible long-term risks of corticosteroid use, especially related to neurodevelopmental problems during childhood.

Even a single dose of steroids may have some short-term adverse effects on you, such as increased blood pressure. And although it doesn't happen often, corticosteroids can raise your blood sugar to levels that require you to take insulin for a little while even if you don't have diabetes. If you do have diabetes or gestational diabetes, being given corticosteroids may require you to increase your insulin dosage.

Another uncommon effect of corticosteroids occurs when they're combined with other medications (specifically, tocolytics) to stop preterm labor. In this combination, they can raise your risk of developing pulmonary edema, a condition in which fluid builds up in your lungs. If you're taking both tocolytic medications and corticosteroids, you'll need to be watched especially carefully even though the risk of pulmonary edema is still pretty low.

Corticosteroids appear safe for moms in the long term, and with few exceptions, the benefits are thought to outweigh any possible problems.



Comments:

  1. Prometheus

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  2. Kazrakree

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  3. Errando

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  4. Nerr

    It seems to me that this is not entirely accurate. There are several opinions on this topic. And each person with their own worldview has their own opinion.

  5. Constantine Dwyne

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