Huggies Forum

Huggies® Ultimate
Newborn Nappies

Learn More

Steroids for a 38 weeker?! Rss

Wondering if anyone has heard of this or had experience with it?
I am booked to have a c-section at 38+3 (due to medical reasons) and the OB at the hospital told me it is now standard procedure to give the steroid shots for babies up to 39 weeks (elective c-sections only, no labour).
Everything I have read says that steroids after 34 weeks gestation are pretty much a waste of time and could even have negative long term effects.
Also, it just doesn't make sense to me because the OB at the hospital said it's because the fluid doesn't get squeezed out of the lungs like it would during a vaginal birth (which makes sense) and baby could have difficulty breathing and is more likely to go to the NICU.. BUT, I thought steroids were to help mature baby's lungs? Aren't they already mature at 38 weeks? What does lung maturity have to do with the fluid?
I am planning on declining the steroids, but hoped someone might have a bit more info on this topic.
I am having a C/S 1 day before 39wk. Never heard of it. I would be asking for another opinion or just refuse if you don't think it is necessary. Bubs are meant to be 'term' at 37wks 'full term' at 40wks so you would think that they are ready or very close to at 38wks. As for the lungs being squeezed...well I was told it is procedure to suction them as soon as they are out.

Young people learn from experience. So who are we to try and stop them

I am also having an elective c-section at 38+3 due to medical reasons and have been told that I will have steroids.. I figure my ob is the professional so if he wants it done them I am happy to do so. Haven't heard of any negative effects though
My dd2 was delivered at 38+2 by elective c-section and spent 2 in the special care unit on c-pap. This was because she still had fluid in her lungs. My dd3 was delivered by c-section at 39 weeks and not a prob. Dd4 was delivered at 38+3 and was on oxygen for a day as she still had a bit of fluid on her lungs. As the baby comes down the birth canal thats when babys lungs get squeezed and the fluid is expelled. All my girls are fine now smile

My DD2 was induced at 38+1 and there was never any mention of steriods. She didn't need any asistance and had an apgar score of 9 at birth. 37 weeks is considered full term.




When I had my daughter it was reccomended she was born c-section 38 weeks. They have found that if the baby is not quite ready to come it helps the lungs. That is what I was advised so I did it.

With the twins I wwent into natural labour at 34 weeks and was too late for the steroids. One was fine but the other had fluid in lungs. Told that the steroids would have helped. Both were c-sections.

I wanted the best for my kids and trusted my doctor so I had the injections. But yes you have to have two as colse to 24 hours apart as you can. They don't really hurt I had them at the top of my bum.

Good luck with your decision and your birth.


It might have something to do with the reason you are having a c section. Many medical conditions that occur during pregnancy that indicate a c section can impact on baby's lung development. So while it is true that "full term" is 37 weeks, the baby's growth and development might have been compromised slightly due to whatever medical condition is happening with you and therefore they might want to do steroids to reduce the risk of needing oxygen support at birth. I would take all these questions to your ob and don't agree to it unless you are satisfied with the answers. I don't think there is much risk to you or baby to have the steroids though. Good luck in your decision




Follow my blog "Bed Rest for Baby" at http://www.babysteps1804.wordpress.com

Thanks for all the responses.
I should add I have had 3 previous c-sec's, 2 were elective. My youngest (who is 2 now) came at 38 weeks after my water broke and there was no mention of steroids then. It seems to be a relatively new protocol they have brought in. The steroids have nothing to do with the reason I'm having a c-section (and I don't have any condition that would effect baby's lungs) and as far as I understand, steroids are purely to help baby's lung maturity.
I am very aware about the fluid etc.. and all 3 of my babies were suctioned after birth. My youngest did have an oxygen mask on for about 20 mins after to birth to give him a little help because of the fluid issue. But this is what I am saying, the fluid is a completely different issue. It has nothing to do with lung maturity, yet this was the reason I was given as to why they give the steroids now. I am wondering if the docs are doing it to cover their asses as we know that dates can sometimes be off by 2-3 weeks if you haven't had accurate early dating scans. Sometimes I feel that docs/nurses do these uneccersary things just to make it easier for themselves :-/
I have already made my decision that I will be refusing the steroids, as I mentioned, I have done quite a bit of research on it. However I posted here hoping for insight (or mum's who have been offered them this late in pregnancy) as it seems to be a new thing and I'm confused as to the reason behind it.
Here are a couple links if any of you are interested in reading about it:

http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCoverage/SMF...

http://www.wapm.info/Portals/0/Archivos/Guideli...

Im having a 38+3 csection as well because i dont want to be in hospital over christmas with a 2.5 year old. My ob is away on leave from Friday so I was changing to another one at 34 weeks (turns out my ob has now got a locum in so the locum will perform my csect instead) anyway I had an appointment with the second ob who was originally going to do my csect when i was 24 weeks and he said i would need 2 shots of steriods in the 48 hour period before the csection. when i went back to my original ob my next visit i asked him if he would give steriods for a 38+3 csection because im terrified of needles and will do anything to get out of them. he said not neccessarily but would probably depend on the case. anyway there has been no further mention of steriod shots and im booked in in 15 days to have bubby girl. i had my daughter csection at 39 weeks on the dot and had no issues. i think what some obs get at is especially with elective csections they worry that bubby isnt ready to come out just yet so they would rather be safe then sorry. whereas if you go into labour its natures way of kinda telling you bubby is cooked and ready to come out of the oven.





Also forgot to add (preggy brain lol) nobody actually knows the long term effects on babies who have the steroids this late in the pregnancy as it is a relatively new thing. There has been one or two studies done which have indicated some negative effects (attention problems) but as I said, it will be more years before they know the full effect.
It just does not seem worth the risk to me. Just because a doctor recommends it, doesn't mean it's safe. In fact, the OB I spoke to admitted that they don't know the long term effects.

I will not have a chance to see an OB again before my c-section (which is in less than 3 weeks) but I will definitely be discussing this with my midwife.
Yes, LilyEveMum, I do think you are right and it's a case of the docs being worried about baby not being ready.
For myself, I had several early scans and I am 100% sure about my dates so I am not worried about baby being younger than 38+3 when I have the c-sec.

I also want to point out that anyone CAN refuse the steroid shots if you do not want them. The docs cannot force you to take them.
Sounds odd that they would suggest steroids then. I could kind of understand if you had hypertension/pre eclampsia or other issues with the placenta/cord, heart problems or gestational diabetes as these things all impact on baby growth and development but if it has been a perfectly healthy pregnancy I can't see the reason for giving steroids at 38 weeks. As you said, retained lung fluid from a c section has nothing to do with lung maturity, it just happens because you haven't laboured and steroids won't change that. I'd still be questioning the ob about his reasons behind it, but if he can't give a solid answer I'd be refusing too




Follow my blog "Bed Rest for Baby" at http://www.babysteps1804.wordpress.com

Sign in to follow this topic