In cases of anticipated preterm delivery, corticosteroids for fetal lung maturation and magnesium sulfate for fetal neuroprotection may improve neonatal outcomes.
The aim of this study was to summarize and compare published guidelines from 4 leading medical societies on the administration of antenatal corticosteroids and magnesium sulfate.
A descriptive review of major national guidelines on corticosteroids and magnesium sulfate was conducted: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence on “Preterm labour and birth,” World Health Organization on “WHO recommendations on interventions to improve preterm birth outcomes,” American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists on “Antenatal corticosteroid therapy for fetal maturation” and “Magnesium sulfate use in obstetrics,” and Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada on “Antenatal corticosteroid therapy for improving neonatal outcomes” and “Magnesium sulphate for fetal neuroprotection.”
A variation in the appropriate timing of administration exists, whereas repeated courses are not routinely recommended for corticosteroids or magnesium sulfate. In addition, the recommendations are the same for singleton and multiple gestations, and no specific recommendation exists according to maternal body mass index. Finally, a variation in guidelines regarding the administration of corticosteroids before cesarean delivery exists.
The adoption of an international consensus on corticosteroids and magnesium sulfate may increase their endorsement by health care professionals, leading to more favorable neonatal outcomes after preterm delivery.
Obstetricians and gynecologists, family physicians.
After participating in this activity, the learner should be better able to identify the appropriate indications for the administration of corticosteroids and magnesium sulfate; describe the effectiveness and associated risks of corticosteroids and magnesium sulfate; and explain the timing and schemes of corticosteroids and magnesium sulfate administration.