Steroids For Preemies

Friday, December 9, 2011 - 10:39am

Study finds treatments can help babies born as early as 23 weeks.

The Miralles twins were born at Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital on November 29.

Their mother was only 24 weeks pregnant when she started having contractions.

"They began to give me medication to stop the contractions and to try to stop me from going into labor, but immediately they started giving me the steroids," said April Miralles.

Steroids given to pregnant women at risk of preterm births have been used for years to help their babies, especially with their lung function.

"It's not just acceleration of lung maturation but also reduces a number of other complications such as intracranial hemorrhage, bleeding in the brain which is also a significant complications in premature infants," explained University of Miami's Dr. Eduardo Bancalari, director of neonatology at Jackson's Holtz Children's Hospital.

The recommendations are to give the steroids after 24 weeks gestation.

The National Institute of Health is calling for a change after new research results.

University of Miami researchers at Holtz Children's Hospital were part of that federal study.

The findings provide strong evidence that prenatal steroids benefit infants born as early as the 23rd week of pregnancy.

"it's a very simple intervention, very inexpensive, takes only a couple of injections and has dramatic effects," said Bancalari.

Miralles is hopeful because her boys are doing better than she expected.

"I thought they would be with the tubes for a while before they started breathing on her own," she said.

Pediatrician Dr.Teresa Del Moral says 20 years ago these babies would not have survived.

As she stood over Adam she said "it's amazing, he's breathing by himself."

Brandon and Adam Miralles still face challenges, but if they continue to do well, perhaps they could be home around their original due date in March.

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