Dexamethasone for the prevention of neonatal respiratory morbidity before elective cesarean section at term
Background: Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) is the principal cause of early neonatal morbidity and mortality.
Objective: The current study aims to evaluate the effect of dexamethasone administration 48 hours before elective cesarean section (CS) at term on neonatal respiratory morbidity.
Methods: The current study was a case-control study conducted between June 2015 and November 2015. Women who attended the labor ward in Sohag University Hospital, Egypt, after 37 weeks of gestation for elective CS were approached for participation. The patients received 2 intramuscular doses of 12 mg dexamethasone 12 hours apart in the 48 hours before CS (N=246). The control group included women who did not receive dexamethasone before CS during the same period of the study (N=275).
Results: No significant differences were detected between the study and control groups with regard to age, parity or gestational age at delivery. There was a significantly higher number of neonates with RDS and transient tachypnea in the control group compared to the study group (p=0.001). The rate of neonatal admission to the neonatal care unit (NICU) was significantly lower in the study group (p=0.001).
Conclusions: Prophylactic dexamethasone administration before elective CS at term significantly reduces neonatal respiratory morbidity and admission to NICU.