Antenatal Corticosteroids for Fetal Lung Development
How It Works
Betamethasone and dexamethasone cause an immature fetus's lungs to produce a compound called surfactant. A full-term baby's lungs naturally produce surfactant, which lubricates the lining of the air sacs within the lungs. This allows the inner surfaces of the air sacs to slide against one another without sticking during breathing. Premature infants whose lungs have begun producing surfactant are more able to breathe on their own, or with less respiratory treatment, after birth.
If delivery does not occur within 7 days of treatment, the injections should not be repeated.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: January 10, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference William Gilbert, MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine