steroid shot for baby's lungs — The Bump
High-Risk Pregnancy

steroid shot for baby's lungs

I went into preterm labor at 32 weeks and the doctor gave me the steroid shot (2 actually over a 24 hour period) to help mature the baby's lungs in case she was born. Luckily, they were able to hold off labor and I am now 2 days shy of being 34 weeks. My question is, what exactly does that shot do? and will it now last until the baby is born or will I need to get it again if I go into labor before 37 weeks? also, if anyone has had a previous pregnancy where they received this shot, how was your baby when they were born? I am very scared to have this baby too early and just thought maybe one of you ladies might help answer some questions for me. Thank you so much!
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Re: steroid shot for baby's lungs

  • No experience with a baby yet, but I just had my steroid shots at 25 weeks.  I read up on them, and from what I can tell, they help a lot with the lungs and result in very positive outcomes for premature babies, but it's better if you've had them within 2 weeks of the birth.  The risks of taking them every two weeks usually are too high, so after your first dose, you don't get any more except possibly if you go into labor over 2 weeks after the shots and they think you'll have enough time for a 2nd dose to take effect but are expecting the baby in a short while.  Good luck holding off, but it looks like you're in good hands either way.
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  • I had a positive Fetal fibronectin test at 26 wks and was given the steroid shots just in case she came early as well and from what I can tell from research, the l&d nurses, and from other moms who had the steroid shots they do wonders for the babies lungs if they do decide to come early! It's my understanding that it isn't safe to do the steroid shots every week, but the closer the steroid shots are given to the actual delivery the more effective they are. I was told that if I went a lot further past the first does of the steroid shots, but she still decided to come before she was technically pre term they would consider giving me another dose. It sounds like you are in great hands and your docs are keeping a close eye on her. Good luck and fingers crosser your little one continues to bake as long as possible! 

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  • I had the shots at 32 weeks while pregnant with DD, I went into labor at 37 weeks exactly and she was born perfectly healthy with no issues.  My sister had them days before delivery her DD at 34 weeks and her daughter was born fine and needed no breathing assistance.  I think they are great and really help the babies lungs.  They don't give them past 34 weeks so you wouldn't get them again since the babies lungs would be fine at that point


    My sister and I joke that our girls scream so loud because they have crazy string lungs from the shots :)



  • I had the steroid shots at 30 weeks and delivered at 33 weeks 4 days.  My twins were born breathing room air.  Neither ever needed help breathing.  Good luck!!
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    7/30/12 - B/G twins born at 33w4d due to PPROM
  • I received the shots at 32 weeks and 6d and then another at 33 weeks and my DD was born at 34 weeks and 5 days. She was only on the cpap for a few hours. With my oldest I only got on shot before she was born and she only needed the cpap for 2 days. So I like to think the shots work. Good luck!



  • They won't give you another set of shots after 34 weeks.  I recieved mine at 24 weeks and they will not give me another set unless they are almost certain I will deliver within a 48 hour period before 34 weeks.

    It is excellent that you are almost 34 weeks, that is my doctors goal for me!

    From what I know the steroids increase surfactant and can help when they recieve artifical surfactant, also can increase lung volume.

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  • I had the steroid shot with DD at 24 weeks.  They are suppose to strengthen the lungs.  When DD was born at 35 weeks, however, she wasn't breathing, due to shock, and had to be put on oxygen.  Seemed to me like the shot either didn't work or didn't last.  She came off of oxygen the next evening though Smile 
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  • I specifically asked my MFM whether I'd be getting the shots for prevention in case I get HELLP again, and this is what he said:

    - If there is a clear risk of prematurity, then the benefits of the shots far outweigh any potential risks. However, if there's no indication of imminent premature birth, then it's not worth even the slight risk to keep giving shots.

    - You would need to get them approximately every 10 days because that's about how much the shots advance lung development. So just as an example, if you get them at 26w, it will develop the lungs to the approximate equivalent of 27w3d. However, the development then slows down so that by the time you get to around 28w, it's like the shots never happened - your LO's lungs are the same developmentally as any other 28w fetus. So you would need more shots to take the lungs to the equivalent of 29w3d, etc, etc.

    With DD I didn't have the shots because I was admitted at 33w6d and they held off with the c/s until 34w1d. This time the dr said since I'm being monitored so much more closely, they should be able to see that I'm getting HELLP and give me the shots in plenty of time if I get it before 34w.

    BFP1: DD1 born April 2011 at 34w1d via unplanned c/s due to HELLP, DVT 1 week PP
    BFP2: 3/18/12, blighted ovum, natural m/c @ 7w4d
    BFP3: DD2 born Feb 2013 at 38w4d via unplanned RCS due to uterine dehiscence

  • I had steroid shots at 28 weeks and again at 31 weeks when my water broke - DD was born at 31 weeks and a few days - was on c-pap for less then 24 hours and then was breathing on her own. She spent 28 uneventful days in the NICU.
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  • I went into preterm labor at 30 weeks and got 2 shots of steroids.  I got admitted into the hopsital again at 32 weeks 4 days and received 1 steriod shot before my water broke.  My little peanut only needed help breathing for an hour.  He was in the NICU for 3 1/2 weeks, but breathing on his own the entire time.  The shots really help!  I don't think they give them once you reach 34 weeks, though.
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  • I received the shots right at 29 weeks and delivered at 36 weeks.  LO had no problems ever breathing or grunting so I am so thankful for them!

     I only had one set, my OB told me they would do their job and I wouldn't (didn't) need another set.  


  • I had mine at 32 wks and they were able to stop my contractions. They give them every 2 wks but not after 34 wks so you probably won't have another round.


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  • I received my first set at 23w1d and 23w2d when I was admitted because I was dilating (4cm). I received another round at 25w and 25w1d. CJ was born at 25w4d via emergency c section. He had the ventalator for a few hours then was moved to cypap(??) now is on a cpap with ox pressure of 30.
    Trenton Elijah born three weeks early due to pre-e on April 14, 2011. Weighing 6lbs 6.3oz, 18 inches long.

    Cameron Jacob (CJ) came early @ 25w4d on November 16, 2012 due to placenta abruption and incompetent cervix . Weighing 1lb 15.5oz, 14 inches long. 


    Expecting a winter baby. Stay put LO!
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