Am J Perinatol 2001; 18(5): 267-278
DOI: 10.1055/s-2001-16989

Copyright © 2001 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA. Tel.: +1(212) 584-4662

Single Versus Repeated-Course Antenatal Corticosteroids: Outcomes in Singleton and Multiple-Gestation Pregnancies

Daniel R. Dirnberger1 , Bradley A. Yoder1 3 4 , Michael C. Gordon2
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland AFB, Texas
  • 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland AFB, Texas
  • 3Department of Pathology, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, Texas
  • 4Magella Medical Associates, Dallas, Texas
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
10 September 2001 (online)


The objectives of this study are to compare the neonatal risks and benefits of antenatal single-course versus repeated-course corticosteroids in singleton and multiple-gestation pregnancies. A comprehensive analysis was performed of the inpatient records of all neonates admitted to our center from 1 January 1994 through 31 May 1999. The primary outcome measure was survival without chronic lung disease (CLD). Secondary outcome measures included birth weight; head circumference; interval weight ratios; respiratory disease severity; intraventricular hemorrhage rate and severity; severe retinopathy of prematurity; early infection; and hospital days. All singletons 27-32 completed weeks' gestation, and multiples 26-32 weeks' gestation, whose mothers had received betamethasone before delivery, were included. One hundred and fifteen singleton and 53 multiple-gestation infants (total 168) were stratified by multiplicity, gestational-age (≤29 or ≥30 weeks), and number of steroid courses. Repeated courses of antenatal betamethasone were not associated with greater survival without CLD, in either singleton- or multiple-gestation infants. In singletons there was no difference in any outcome measure between groups. In multiples, the only difference was greater postnatal weight gain in the lower gestation group. Mean birth head circumference was smaller in repetitively-treated singletons ≤29 weeks. There are no clinically significant neonatal benefits of repeated-course antenatal steroids in singletons ≥27 weeks estimated gestational age (EGA) or multiple-gestation infants ≥26 weeks EGA. Prospective randomized trials of single-course versus repetitive antenatal corticosteroid therapy are warranted.