Effects of antenatal corticosteroids on urinary markers of the initiation of lactation in pregnant women

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Abstract

Background: Antenatal corticosteroids are given to most women at risk of preterm delivery, although many do not eventually deliver preterm. Profound disruptions of lactation have been shown in ewes after antenatal corticosteroid treatment, but little is known of the effect on lactation in women. This study aimed to investigate the effects of antenatal corticosteroid treatment on mammary secretion during pregnancy in women.Methods: We conducted a prospective cohort study of women receiving betamethasone for anticipated preterm delivery (n = 87). Women collected 24-hour urine samples on days 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, and 14 after treatment if they remained pregnant. We measured urinary excretion of pregnanediol glucuronide (PdG), a major metabolite of progesterone and lactose, which indicates mammary secretion during pregnancy. Withdrawal of progesterone triggers the onset of mammary secretion.Results: Median (range) gestational age at treatment was 28.8 (23.6–33.6) weeks. A total of 330 24-hour urine samples were collected. Median (range) excretion of PdG was 1.355 (0.139–5.069) mmol/24 hours, and lactose excretion was 0.823 (0.035–6.676) mmol/24 hours. Both PdG and lactose excretion increased with increasing gestational age (P 
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-206
JournalBreastfeeding Medicine
Volume4
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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