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steroids for lung maturity

The purpose of this section is to present the experiences of other members of the twins list, not to provide medical information or advice.

Please remember that this is not medical advice!

Does anyone know anything (maybe from personal experience!) about mom taking steriods towards end of pregnancy to help twins' lung development? I have a friend who took steriods from her 32-36? weeks to increase her babies rate of lung development. I am 30 weeks and on bedrest and terbutaline every 4 hours but my doctor says he doubts I'll make it to 36/37 weeks, but has made no mention of steriods. Is taking steriods common practice or did my friend go to a doctor with unusual methods? Just thought I'd see what you all had to say before I ask anything at my appt next week. Thanks!

I had the steroid shots starting at about 30 weeks and ending at about 33 weeks, which my doctors seemed to think was sort of the end of the period that they would be useful. I would ask your doctor about the shots -- from what mine said, they can make a huge difference for the babies' lungs and the negative side effects are very rare, and *very* rarely serious. My boys were born at 36 weeks and their lungs were fine, but that's far enough along that it's pretty hard to say whether the steroid shots helped or whether their lungs would have been OK on their own.

When I went into labor at 26 weeks I received two shots of betamethasone on two consecutive days and then had a shot of it every week for the next 6 weeks. I can't honestly say that I'm certain it helped the boys' lung development but both my OB/GYN and the perinatolgist that I was seeing weekly recommended the shots. My boys were born at 34 weeks. One of them had no lung problems. The other one needed one dose of surfactant to get his lungs going. I'm glad I took the shots and I don't think it's a rare thing at all. I suggest you call your doctor and ask him/her about the shots. I figured I was willing to do anything to help my babies be born as healthy as possible.

My doctor gave me steroids (betamethasone) at 27 weeks because of pre-term labor and high blood pressure. I took two shots on two consecutive days. When I was hospitalized at 31 weeks with labor that could not be stopped even with the dreaded mag, they did a lung maturity study which revealed that their lungs were mature enough for delivery. They took me off all drugs and LOL, my labor stopped. I was induced at 35 weeks and delivered 6lb, 11oz and 6lb 1oz healthy babies who went home with me two days later! I think ther steroids definately contributed to my babies' development.

When I was admitted to the hospital at 32 weeks for pre-term labor and pre-eclampsia, I was given steroid shots over two days, and then twice more a week later. The docs said that those were the key weeks to do it, and there was no proof it worked after 34 weeks. No matter, I had the boys at exactly 34 weeks, and they both came out screaming, so I feel as though the steroids definitely helped.

I had a total of 6 steroid shots while I was pregnant. I started preterm labor, terbutaline, and bedrest at 22 weeks. I went in to be checked and get a shot once a week until I delivered at 28 weeks. In the face of possible delivery so early, the shots presented something I could do that would help the babies' chances of survival. It was a huge thing at a time when you feel so helpless. Although my doctor said there is no evidence that it helps for sure, they believe it could and that makes it worth a try.

I cannot describe the immense relief I felt when I went into premature delivery and the people in the hospital ran in to give me a shot for the babies' lungs. I was able to say "I've been taking them for 6 weeks!"

My kids did fantastic in NICU. THey both weighed 2.65 lbs and were on a respirator for only 1 and 3 days. Aside from one infection which put my son back on the respirator for 2 days, they did fantastic the two months they were in.

I'm a mother of boy/girl twins who are almost 12 weeks old. I was sent home on bedrest at 19 weeks and went on steroid shots at 24 weeks, once a week. I went into the hospital at 26 weeks on complete bedrest and took the steroid shots until 34 weeks. I delivered at 37 weeks. I saw a very well-regarded high risk specialist and she felt steroid shots were very important, even though they exacerbated my preterm labor problems and blood sugar levels (I had gestational diabetes). The lungs of the babies start producing surfactant on their own at around 34 weeks so the shots are not of any value past that time. So, based on my experience, I think you should be taking the shots to avoid (hopefully) your baby being put on a respirator if he/she is born early.

When I was admitted into the hospital at 33 2/7 weeks with ruptured membranes I was immediately given Betamethazone to help the babies lungs mature. The shots were given in my leg, not painful, no side affects of which I was aware. I was given another dose 24 hours later and then again a week after that. I went into labor at 34 1/2 weeks (Labor? I barely felt a thing!) and when the babies were born they were fine (4lbs 4 oz and 4 lbs 5 oz). They spent 5 days in NICU to make sure everything was ok. They had no feeding tubes, no jaundice, no respirators. They drank from bottles the first day and nursed on the second. I have seen from this list that some babies born at 34 weeks also had no problems but there were others who did. I don't know who else got the shots. The steroids act to increase the production of surfactants in the babys' lungs which keep the air sacs from being "sticky" when the baby begins to breathe air. I sometimes wonder why these aren't given more often as a precaution to mothers expecting twins in the event of possible prematurity.

I am a L&D nurse at a tertiary care centre that does ~5500 deliveries per year. We offer a course of injected steroids to anyone with a threatened premature delivery. The research is quite strong that steroids before 32 weeks have a profound impact on fetal lung maturity. We use both betamethasone and dexamethasone. I'd recommend that you discuss this with your doc. I also received them at 29 weeks gestation when I was threatening prem labour.
Joan MacNeil, RN, BScN, IBCLC

I received a shot at 33 1/2 weeks (I was told this was pretty much the cut off time wise) because of ruptured membranes - that did eventually seal. I delivered at 37 weeks - induced actually - 6 8-1/2# and 6 5-1/2#. The girls were big and healthy and never spent a moment away from mommy and daddy. I don't know if the shots worked since I didn't deliver prematurely but all of my cousins (3) are RNs and say it works.

I work for a group of perinatologists, and we usually give Celestone (steroid) for preterm labor pt's.....if the cervix is beginning to change. Usually (depending on the dosage), we give a total of 3 injections. They are usually given w/ in a few weeks of delivery... if it is predicted. We just had a set of triplets born @ 30 wks. 3,13oz; 3,15oz; and 4,1oz... no steroids... and everyone went home 10 days later! They amazed everyone in the NICU because of the gestational age & weight, and not a baby required any ventilation! Our doctors received the documentation from the Dr. who performed her IVF, to verify that her dates were indeed correct.

Meanwhile, I had a total of 3 injections, delivered @ 33 wks, and both babies had to be intubated on vents for 2 wks. You just never know.

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