Being born before 37 weeks’ gestation, or preterm birth, is a leading cause of early childhood death and life-long disability. Antenatal steroids (ANS) are recommended for women judged at risk of imminent preterm delivery. The primary intent of ANS treatment is to rapidly mature the fetal lungs to reduce the risk of mortality and lasting morbidity. Despite being used clinically for some 50 years, a large number of uncertainties remain surrounding the use of ANS. In particular, the choice of agent, dose / regimen, and appropriate gestational age range for ANS therapy all remain unclear. Unresolved concerns regarding potential risk of harms from ANS treatment, especially in light of the modest benefits seen with expanding late-preterm administration, make it increasingly important to optimize the dosing and application of this important and widely used treatment. This review will serve to summarize past data, provide an update on recent developments, and chart a way forward to maximize the overall benefit of this important therapy.
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