Background: Antenatal steroid therapy recently has been considered for term and late preterm infants delivered by Cesarean section (CS), with the aim of preventing adverse respiratory morbidity. The main aim of this study was to investigate the metabolic effects of antenatal dexamethasone on blood glucose (BG) homeostasis and serum C-peptide level when administered to term fetuses.
Methods: Umbilical cord blood C-peptide and BG were measured in singleton newborns of 37 weeks gestational age or older with planned CS; mothers from history taking were either received or not received dexamethasone. Other parameters including Apgar score, neonatal birth weight, BG follow-ups, and admission to the neonatal nursery were collected.
Results: In total, 117 mothers met the inclusion criteria, of which 60 received antenatal dexamethasone. This study demonstrated that babies treated with antenatal dexamethasone had a decrease in umbilical cord BG (P = 0.001) and in decrease BG follow-up three hours after birth (P = 0.001) compared to untreated group. However, at the 24th hour of life, there was no statistically significant difference in the BG measurements between both groups (P = 0.14). Furthermore, there was no statistically significant difference between the two groups in umbilical cord C-peptide measurements (P = 0.08), birth weight (P = 0.17), or the numbers of infants that needed admission to the nursery (P = 0.36).
Conclusion: Although antenatal dexamethasone causes immediate mild BG homeostasis alterations in term infants delivered by elective CS, its use is not associated with a statistically significant effect on serum umbilical cord C-peptide measurements, neonatal birth weight, or the rate of neonatal nursery admission.