Timing of antenatal corticosteroids in relation to clinical indication

Jessica Smith, Kellie E. Murphy, Sarah D. McDonald, Elizabeth Asztalos, Amir Aviram, Stefania Ronzoni, Elad Mei-Dan, Arthur Zaltz, Jon Barrett, Nir Melamed*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This study aimed at determining the proportion of women who receive antenatal corticosteroids (ACS) within the optimal time window before birth based on the indication for ACS, and to explore in more detail indications that are associated with suboptimal timing. Methods: A retrospective cohort study of all women who received ACS in a single tertiary center between 2014 and 2017. The primary outcome was an ACS-to-birth interval ≤ 7 days. Secondary outcomes were ACS-to-birth interval of ≤ 14 days, and the proportion women who received ACS but ultimately gave birth at term (≥ 370/7 weeks). The study outcomes were stratified by the clinical indication for ACS. Results: A total of 1261 women met the study criteria, of whom 401 (31.8%) and 569 (45.1%) received ACS within ≤ 7 days and ≤ 14 days before birth, respectively, and 203 (16.1%) ultimately gave birth at term. The proportion of women who received ACS within 7 days before birth was highest for women with preeclampsia (50.4%), and was lowest for women with an incidental finding of a short cervix (8.4%). In the subgroup of women with an incidental finding of a short cervix, the likelihood of optimal timing was not related to the magnitude of cervical shortening, history of preterm birth, multifetal gestation, presence of cervical funneling, or the presence of cervical cerclage. Conclusion: Over two-thirds of infants who are exposed to ACS do not get the maximal benefit from this intervention. The current study identified clinical indications for ACS that are associated with suboptimal timing of ACS where more research is needed to develop quantitative, indication-specific prediction models to guide the timing of ACS.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArchives of Gynecology and Obstetrics
StatePublished - Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Optimal
  • Short cervix
  • Steroids
  • Timing


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