Timing of antenatal steroid administration for imminent preterm birth: results of a prospective observational study in Germany

Charlotte Humbeck, Sinje Jonassen, Arne Bringewatt, Mascha Pervan, Achim Rody, Verena Bossung*

*Corresponding author for this work


Purpose: To evaluate the timing of antenatal steroid administration and associated medical interventions in women with imminent preterm birth. Methods: We performed a prospective observational study at a single tertiary center in Germany from September 2018 to August 2019. We included pregnant women who received antenatal steroids for imminent preterm birth and evaluated the interval from administration to birth. 120 women with antenatal steroid application were included into our analysis. Descriptive statistics were performed to analyze factors influencing the timing of antenatal steroids and to evaluate additional medical interventions which women with imminent preterm birth experience. Results: Of the 120 women included into our study, 35.8% gave birth before 34/0 weeks and 64.2% before 37/0 weeks of gestation. Only 25/120 women (20.8%) delivered within the optimal time window of 1–7 days after antenatal steroid application. 5/120 women (4.2%) only received one dose of antenatal steroids before birth and 3/120 (2.5%) gave birth within 8 to 14 days after antenatal steroids. Most women gave birth more than 14 days after steroid application (72.5%, 87/120). Women with preeclampsia (60%), PPROM (31%), and FGR (30%) had the highest rates of delivery within the optimal time window. Women of all timing groups received additional interventions and medications like antibiotics, tocolytics, or anticoagulation. Conclusion: Our observational data indicate that most pregnant women do not give birth within 7 days after the administration of antenatal steroids. The timing was best for preterm birth due to preeclampsia, PPROM, and FGR. Especially for women with symptoms of preterm labor and bleeding placenta previa, antenatal steroids should be indicated more restrictively to improve neonatal outcome and reduce untimely and unnecessary interventions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArchives of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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