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Premature babies benefit from corticosteroids before birth

A BMJ study has found that babies born prematurely, can benefit from mothers taking corticosteroids before birth.

Giving corticosteroid drugs to mothers at risk of preterm delivery – from as early as 23 weeks of pregnancy – is associated with a lower rate of death and serious illness for their babies, says a study published by the BMJ.

Babies born early have a greater risk of death and serious complications after birth – such as breathing problems, bleeding into the brain or infection – compared with babies born at term. These problems tend to be more severe the earlier the baby is born.

Corticosteroids have been shown to help with a baby’s development and increase the chance of the baby surviving after being born.

A team of researchers analysed data for 117,941 infants born between 23 and 34 weeks of gestation from 2009 to 2013 at 300 neonatal intensive care units across the US.

Death or major illness

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