This Consult has been endorsed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
The administration of antenatal corticosteroids has been widely adopted as the standard of care in the management of pregnancies at risk for preterm delivery before 37 weeks of gestation, with the primary goal of reducing neonatal morbidity. However, the long-term risks associated with antenatal corticosteroid use remain uncertain. The purpose of this Consult is to review the current literature on the benefits and risks of antenatal corticosteroid use in the late preterm period and to provide recommendations based on the available evidence. The recommendations by the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine are as follows: (1) we recommend offering a single course of antenatal corticosteroids (2 doses of 12 mg of intramuscular betamethasone 24 hours apart) to patients who meet the inclusion criteria of the Antenatal Late Preterm Steroids trial, ie, those with a singleton pregnancy between 34 0/7 and 36 6/7 weeks of gestation who are at high risk of preterm birth within the next 7 days and before 37 weeks of gestation (GRADE 1A); (2) we suggest consideration for the use of antenatal corticosteroids in select populations not included in the original Antenatal Late Preterm Steroids trial, such as patients with multiple gestations reduced to a singleton gestation on or after 14 0/7 weeks of gestation, patients with fetal anomalies, or those who are expected to deliver in <12 hours (GRADE 2C); (3) we recommend against the use of antenatal corticosteroids for fetal lung maturity in pregnant patients with a low likelihood of delivery before 37 weeks of gestation (GRADE 1B); (4) we recommend against the use of late preterm corticosteroids in pregnant patients with pregestational diabetes mellitus, given the risk of worsening neonatal hypoglycemia (GRADE 1C); (5) we recommend that patients at risk for late preterm delivery be thoroughly counseled regarding the potential risks and benefits of antenatal corticosteroid administration and be advised that the long-term risks remain uncertain (GRADE 1C).