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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Effect of prenatal glucocorticoid treatment on size at birth among infants born at term gestation.

  • Author(s): Davis, EP
  • Waffarn, F
  • Uy, C
  • Hobel, CJ
  • Glynn, LM
  • Sandman, CA
  • et al.

To determine whether prenatal treatment with a single course of glucocorticoids (GCs) affects size at birth among full-term infants independent of fetal size before GC administration or exposure to preterm labor (PTL).In all, 105 full-term infants were recruited into three study groups (30 GC treated; 60 controls matched for gestational age (GA) at birth and sex; and 15 PTL controls without GC exposure). Size of the infants was estimated before treatment using two-dimensional (2D) ultrasound and by direct measurement at birth.Length, weight and head circumference at birth were smaller among GC-treated infants compared with matched controls (P's<0.01), although fetal size did not differ before treatment (P's>0.2). Exposure to PTL did not account for this effect.Prenatal treatment with a single course of GCs was associated with a reduction in size at birth among infants born at term gestation. This effect cannot be explained by differences in fetal size before treatment or exposure to PTL.

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