Multiple Steroid Doses of No Help to Preemies

Multiple Steroid Doses of No Help to PreemiesA new study published in the medial journal Lancet reveals, multiple steroid doses given to pregnant women at risk of pre-term delivery to help their fetus and reduce the chance of infant mortality, respiratory distress syndrome, bleeding in the brain, more often than not give birth to low birth-weight babies with smaller head circumference.

However, it is now found that these multiple courses of antenatal corticosteroids should be stopped as they do not help the baby. Dr. William F. Walsh, chief of nurseries and a specialist in the care of high-risk newborn babies at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, says every research shows an overwhelming benefit from one course of steroids for premature babies, and clinical practice has already changed, with most doctors only giving a single dose of steroids.

For the new research, 1,858 women in 20-countries at 25 to 32 weeks of gestation who had not delivered their babies within 14 to 21 days after receiving one dose of corticosteroids, were studied.

As well, the study funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research, found there was no difference in other results e. g. death, respiratory problems and bleeding in the brain between the babies of women given multiple instead of a single dose of steroids and women given a placebo. A classic reminder more isn't always better.

Researchers will now also assess children between 18 and 24 months for higher death rates or neurological impairment like cerebral palsy, on the basis of scores on a standard test used to assess the development of young children. They will also be examined when they are five, with particular attention being paid to their behaviour, growth, glucose tolerance and blood pressure.