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May 19, 2020

Antenatal Corticosteroids—Too Much of a Good Thing?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 2Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
JAMA. 2020;323(19):1910-1912. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.3935

Antenatal corticosteroids, when administered to a pregnant woman before delivery of a very premature infant, accelerate fetal lung maturation and prevent neonatal mortality, respiratory distress syndrome, and brain injury.1 Even though the first trial to demonstrate benefits of antenatal corticosteroid exposure was published in 1972, widespread use of this therapy did not occur until 20 years later.2,3 The first systematic review of antenatal corticosteroid therapy was so influential in the obstetric and neonatal care communities that a forest plot from this study is depicted in the logo for the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.4 Antenatal corticosteroid therapy has been one of the most important advances in perinatal care.

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