Antenatal corticosteroid administration-to-birth interval and neonatal outcomes in very preterm infants: A secondary analysis based on a prospective cohort study

PLoS One. 2023 Feb 10;18(2):e0281509. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0281509. eCollection 2023.


Introduction: Despite the prevalent use of antenatal corticosteroids (ACS) to prevent preterm infants' adverse neonatal complications, there is currently no consensus on administration-to-birth intervals of ACS. International guidelines broadly agree that the administration of antenatal corticosteroids should be within 7 days prior to preterm birth. However, there is little evidence to support narrower optimal ACS administration-to-birth interval time. This study was undertaken to investigate the association between the administration-to-birth interval of ACS which is bounded by 48 hours and neonatal outcomes in very preterm infants.

Materials and methods: This is a single-center prospective observational study. Data were collected prospectively from eligible infants from January 2008 to April 2014 at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, neonatal outcomes were compared between two groups based on the interval of antenatal corticosteroid administration-to-birth: the interval of <48h, and the interval of >48h. It was noted that the entire study was completed by Dongli Song et al., and uploaded the data to the DATADRYAD website. The author only used this data for secondary analysis.

Results: After adjusting potential confounders (gestational age, sex, birth weight, duration of cord clamping and delivery mode), the interval of >48h group compared to the interval of <48h group had significant reductions in mortality (OR: 0.17; 95% CI: 0.05-0.59), any retinopathy of prematurity (OR: 0.36; 95% CI: 0.16-0.82), severe retinopathy of prematurity (OR: 0.07; 95% CI: 0.01-0.45), any intubation (OR: 0.39; 95% CI: 0.20-0.75) and higher 1 min Apgar (β: 0.56; 95% CI: 0.10-1.02).

Conclusion: This study shows that in very preterm infants, compared with the interval of ACS<48h, the interval of ACS>48 hours has a significant health promotion effect.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Birth Intervals
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases* / etiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature Birth* / prevention & control
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity* / complications
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones

Associated data

  • Dryad/10.5061/dryad.4q3d3

Grant support

The authors received no specific funding for this work.