Background: Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), a consequence of lung immaturity, is a serious complication of preterm birth and the primary cause of early neonatal mortality. Administration of antenatal steroids is a standard care method for mothers with anticipated preterm labor. However, the gestational age range at which antenatal corticosteroids (ACS) provide benefit has been subjected to debate. This study aimed to find the prevalence of ACS use in patients that developed/did not develop RDS.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted at Rafidia governmental surgical hospital. It is based on the data obtained from the files of mothers who gave birth to premature babies and from a face-to-face interview. One hundred and twenty-eight data collection forms were completed over a period of seven months.
Results: Approximately 64% of mothers, mothers who gave birth to premature babies, were given ACS, and about 33% of premature neonates developed RDS. Mothers who gave birth to newborns with RDS have lower odds of being administered ACS by 44% (OR=0.44, CI=0.202-0.94, p value= 0.034). However, the association became statistically not significant after adjusting gestational age, birth weight, gender, mother’s age, intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), mode of delivery and gestational hypertension (OR=0.462, CI=0.137-1.56, p value=0.212). Higher risk of RDS was significantly associated with lower gestational age (p-value < 0.001) and IUGR after adjustment (p value=0.035). However, no significant association could be found between RDS and mode of delivery (p value=0.730), maternal age (p value=0.63) and gender of the baby (p value= 0.22).
Conclusions: the overall prevalence of RDS in preterm infants was 33.3% and the identified risk factors were lower gestational age and IUGR. We showed that the administration of ACS wasn’t significantly associated with the development of RDS after adjusting gestational age, birth weight, gender, mother’s age, IUGR, mode of delivery and gestational hypertension, as the administration of ACS didn’t fully meet the international guidelines.