Antenatal corticosteroid therapy (ACT) has many beneficial effects on preterm infants. The cellular mechanisms of action of ACT include beta-adrenergic receptor-mediated cAMP generation. This study investigated the effects of ACT on sympathoadrenal mechanisms during immediate postnatal adaptation of preterm infants. Plasma epinephrine, norepinephrine, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylglycol, and cAMP were measured within 12 h after birth in 103 preterm infants (gestational age 24-36 wk), who were divided into two groups (non-ACT and ACT group) according to whether the mother had received dexamethasone treatment. Infants in the ACT group had significantly lower concentrations of plasma catecholamines than infants in the non-ACT group; plasma epinephrine was 38% lower, and plasma norepinephrine was 20-40% lower in the ACT group, depending on gestational age (r = -0.37 in the non-ACT group and r = -0.28 in the ACT group, p < 0.05). Plasma cAMP concentrations were similar in the two groups. Antihypertensive treatment of the mother was associated with low plasma cAMP (p < 0.001), whereas tocolytic treatment was associated with high plasma cAMP (p = 0.001) of the infant. The results indicate that ACT attenuates the birth-related increase in plasma catecholamines. Still, plasma cAMP levels remain high, which suggests enhanced beta-adrenoceptor signaling after ACT.