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Health Agencies Update
September 20, 2000

Consensus on Antenatal Steroids

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JAMA. 2000;284(11):1371. doi:10.1001/jama.284.11.1371-JHA00009-4-1

A consensus panel convened last month by the NIH reaffirmed the practice of giving a single course of corticosteroids to pregnant women between 24 and 34 weeks gestation who are at risk for preterm delivery, but said that there is insufficient evidence for giving repeat courses of the drugs. The drugs, administered intramuscularly, accelerate the maturation of fetal lungs and certain other organs, and in 1994, the panel had concluded that single-course treatment reduces the risk of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), brain hemorrhage, and mortality in preterm infants.