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July 2018

Risks and Benefits of Antenatal Late-Preterm Corticosteroids

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Washington University in St Louis School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri
JAMA Pediatr. 2018;172(7):615-616. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2018.0677

A decrease in prematurity-related respiratory distress syndrome with antenatal corticosteroid administration was first identified in 1972, but the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists did not endorse antenatal corticosteroid administration in the setting of imminent preterm delivery until 1994. During this 22-year interval, 12 additional randomized clinical trials were published, which culminated in a meta-analysis confirming the significant reduction seen in neonatal morbidity and mortality with antenatal corticosteroid administration without long-term adverse effects.1 For many decades thereafter, antenatal corticosteroid administration was recommended for pregnant women at risk for preterm delivery prior to 34 weeks’ gestation.