The following is a summary of “Long-term childhood outcomes for babies born at term who were exposed to antenatal corticosteroids,” published in the JANUARY 2023 issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology by Osteen, et al.

When given to infants who are at risk of preterm birth, antenatal corticosteroids enhance neonatal outcomes. However, when preterm labor was suspected, many women who took prenatal corticosteroids went on to have a full-term pregnancy. Therefore, long-term effects for term babies exposed to prenatal corticosteroids in assessed. For a study, researchers compared the long-term outcomes of term-born children aged ≥5 years who were born to mothers who had antenatal corticosteroids given to them due to threatened preterm labor with those of term-born children whose mothers had been assessed for threatened preterm labor but had not received antenatal corticosteroids.

A retrospective cohort research was conducted on kids born at ≥37 weeks gestation, ≥ 5 years, and whose mothers had been warned they would have preterm labor. Receiving prenatal corticosteroids was the main exposure that was of interest. The main finding of interest among the compiled children’s medical problems was an asthma diagnosis.

Among the 3,556 term-born infants ≥5 years, 629 (17.5%) received prenatal corticosteroids (all betamethasone), whereas 2,927 (82.3%) were considered controls whose mothers underwent evaluation for risk of preterm delivery but did not receive antenatal corticosteroid injections. Maternal comorbidities such as diabetes mellitus and hypertension were more common in women taking prenatal corticosteroids (P≤.01). Children who were exposed to antenatal corticosteroids did not vary in their diagnosis of attention deficit disorder, developmental delay (P=.47, .54, and .10, respectively), or asthma (12.6% vs. 11.6%). Asthma was not different between those exposed to prenatal corticosteroids and controls after controlling for maternal and neonatal factors (odds ratio, 1.05; 95% CI, 0.79-1.39). Children exposed to prenatal corticosteroids who were delivered at term had higher chances of having a weight percentile <10% (odds ratio, 2.00; 95% CI, 1.22-3.25).

Antenatal corticosteroids may raise the likelihood that term babies who were exposed would grow slower than those who were not. However, there was no difference in the incidence of diagnosis for conditions including asthma, developmental delays, and attention deficit disorders.