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Antenatal corticosteroids commonly are administered to pregnant women at risk of delivering between 23 and 34 gestational weeks, providing crucial benefits to fetal lung maturation and reducing risk of neonatal morbidity and mortality. Corticosteroids are maximally efficacious for lung maturation when administered within 2 to 7 days of delivery. Accurately identifying the timing of preterm delivery is thus critical to ensure that antenatal corticosteroids are administered within a week of delivery and to avoid unnecessary administration to women who will deliver at term. A plausible biomarker for predicting time of delivery is placental corticotropin-releasing hormone (pCRH). Objective

The current study assesses whether pCRH concentrations predict time to delivery, and specifically which women will deliver within a week of treatment. Design

pCRH concentrations were evaluated prior to administration of the corticosteroid betamethasone and timing of delivery was recorded. Participants

121 women with singleton pregnancies who were prescribed betamethasone. Results

Elevated pCRH concentrations were associated with a shorter time from treatment to delivery. ROC curves revealed that pCRH may improve the precision of predicting preterm delivery. Conclusions

In the current sample, pCRH concentrations predicted the likelihood of delivering within one week of corticosteroid treatment. Current findings suggest that pCRH may be a diagnostic indicator of impending preterm delivery. Increasing the precision in predicting time to delivery could inform when to administer antenatal corticosteroids, thus maximizing benefits and reducing the likelihood of exposing fetuses who will be delivered at term.


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version

Swales, D. A., Grande, L. A., Wing, D. A., et al. (2018). Can placental corticotropin-releasing hormone inform timing of antenatal corticosteroid administration? The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. doi: 10.1210/jc.2018-00956

is available online at DOI: 10.1210/jc.2018-00956


Endocrine Society



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