We sought to assess the relationship between respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) in neonates delivered by elective cesarean section at term gestation with and without corticosteroids cover. We also aimed to determine other neonatal complications such as sepsis, hypoglycemia, and hyperbilirubinemia.
We conducted a retrospective descriptive study from January 2010 to December 2015 on all Omani women who delivered by elective cesarean section at Sultan Qaboos University Hospital between 37+0 and 38+6 weeks gestation.
Among 650 patients included in the study, 20.8% (n = 135) received corticosteroids antenatally and 79.2% did not. RDS was found in 16 out of 650 neonates, making the prevalence of RDS 2.5%. Higher gravidity and parity and a mean gestational age of less than 37.6 weeks, were associated with a significant risk of RDS. Administration of antenatal corticosteroids did not change the respiratory morbidity in the newborns (p = 0.340). A mean birth weight of 2.9 kg was associated with a significant risk of RDS (p = 0.043). All 16 newborns required neonatal intensive care unit admission and ventilator support. The most common ventilatory support used was continuous positive airway pressure (56.2%). The most common secondary complication in neonates diagnosed with RDS was transient tachypnea of the newborn (53.8%).
The prevalence of RDS was low. Giving antenatal corticosteroids for patients with planned elective cesarean at term did not seem to have a beneficial effect on neonatal respiratory morbidity. Further studies with larger sample size including multiple centers is recommended.