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    Questions? Ask Henci!


    Find out what other moms-to-be are asking. Join in the discussion with Henci Goer, whose expertise is determining what the research tells us best promotes safe, healthy birth. If you would like to contact Henci outside of the Ask Henci forum, send an email to Goersitemail@aol.com.

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    Archived User

    Hi

    I am currently 31 weeks into a so-far normal uncomplicated 2nd pregnancy. I am in the "high-risk" category at my ob/gyn clinic due to our first pregnancy ending at 40 weeks and a few days in a stillbirth due to unknown cord accident.  That pregnancy was also completely normal and uncomplicated.

    My ob/gyn has given us the option to take a steroid "celestone" (not sure about the spelling) just in case the baby runs into any trouble and is born prematurely either on her own or thru an induction or emergency c-section in case of fetal distress.  Our doctor knows we want to avoid an induction if at all possible. 

    I've tried to find more information on this and found the Childbith connection website which makes a decent case for using corticosteroids and the drugs.com website which was a little more nerve-wracking along with one or two other sites that were less helpful.  Our doc wants us to decide before we get to 34 weeks since after that she didn't see the benefit of using celestone. 

    My question is: have you seen any other research into the pros and cons of this particular steroid and its effects on the baby at any stage between 31 and 40 weeks?

    We're trying to make the best decision for our baby and any of your thoughts on this would be appreciated.

    Henci Goer

    Let me start by saying how sorry I am for your loss. If I understand what you are saying, though, the cause of the stillbirth was a cord accident at term, a "struck by lightning" event that is neither predictable nor preventable, is extremely unlikely to happen again, and  has nothing to do with preterm birth. Yet your doctor wants to give you steroids, a treatment whose purpose is to mature the baby's lungs in cases of threatened preterm birth, a problem you are not experiencing. I may be missing something here, but this does not seem rational to me. Steroids are powerful drugs. I would be concerned about taking them unless I had the problem they are meant to treat. It reminds me of an anecdote I read that was used to illustrate the effects of belief systems on maternity care in which an obstetrician talked a woman who had lost her first baby to a nonsurvivable congenital anomaly into an elective cesarean for the next baby to make sure that wouldn't happen again. 

    I can only imagine how anxious you must be and how nerve wracking it will be as you approach the same point in pregnancy, but if fear, not logic, drives your decisions--or your doctor's recommendations, for that matter--it may lead to intervening in ways that do more harm than good. Lamaze International has  materials here on what best promotes safe, healthy birth. And barring an emergency, I recommend using the acronym BRAIN to help you make informed decisions about your and your baby's care:

    B enefits
    R isks (there always are some)
    A lternatives, including doing nothing
    I ntuition/ instinct
    N o or not now

    ~ Henci


    All Times America/New_York

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