Preterm labor can lead to the problems of the heart, lungs, and brain in a newborn baby. But nowadays, there are certain drugs available that can help delay labor and many doctors consider administering Betnesol injections to a new mother. However, a Betnesol injection is administered only if its benefits outweigh the risk factors.
In this article:
All You Need to Know About Betnesol Injection During Pregnancy
What is Betnesol Injection?
Betnesol (betamethasone sodium phosphate) is a corticosteriod used for treating hormonal imbalance, inflammatory conditions, and autoimmune diseases. Insufficiency of corticosteroids in general has a significant impact on the body. They have many vital functions in the body like regulating salt, balancing the water, regulating stress levels and ensuring the proper functioning of the heart. This injection, therefore, is administered in emergency situations to gain quick control of the symptoms.
Why is it Given During Pregnancy?
Betnesol or betamethasone injection is given if the following complications arise during pregnancy –
- Preterm labor – Preterm labor is a common complication seen during pregnancy. if the baby is born before 32-35 weeks of pregnancy, the lungs will not be completely developed and hence not function properly. When the doctor suspects that a pregnant woman will go into premature labor, administeration of these injections by the doctor to ensure that the baby’s lungs inflate easily without sticking together. It is usually given 24 hours before the expected preterm labor.
- Fetal fibronectin test (FFT) – Fetal fibronectin is a protein that helps an amniotic sac stick to the lining of the uterus. The amniotic sac cushions the baby in the uterus. But when it disrupts, the fetal fibronectin may be released into secretions near the cervix. This can obstruct the growth of the baby and lead to a miscarriage or preterm labor. During pregnancy, the doctor may suggest a fetal fibronectin test between 22 and 34 weeks and take a swab of the secretions to check for the presence of fibronectin. If the test is positive, might undergo a premature labor. The test is done before administering Betnesol. Betnesol will most likely be given when expecting twins or multiple babies.
How is it Given?
Betnesol can be given in the following ways –
- It is injected directly into the veins or muscles to produce an effect throughout the body. This is done through drips. The dosage and duration will depend on the case and complications.
- It can be applied topically on the affected area to reduce inflammation. In some cases, it is directly injected into the inflamed tissue.
The medication is never given on a long-term basis and may be prescribed for a few days or maybe for 2-3 weeks. But it should not be stopped abruptly. It should be tapered slowly or reduce the intensity of any withdrawal symptoms.
Is it Safe During Pregnancy?
A Betnesol injection is given during pregnancy only if there is no alternative treatment available for prenatal complications. Therefore, administering a Betnesol injection to a pregnant woman can pose risks to the baby as it known to cross the placenta and affect the unborn child. It is best avoided in any form (injections or topical creams) unless recommended by a doctor. It is best to consult a doctor about the risks involved and ask about the alternatives.
Caution – make sure it should not be taken without consulting a doctor.
When is it Used?
Doctors usually prescribe Betnesol between 24 0/7 weeks and 33 6/7 weeks of gestation to mothers with a risk of preterm delivery within seven days including those with ruptured membranes and multiple gestations.
The correct dosage is determined after checking the medical history of a pregnant woman. It is administered when the mother shows signs of premature delivery. The dosage of the injection varies from case to case and is decided by the doctor depending on the intensity of the preterm risk.
The doctor can take a call after understanding the case history. If the doctor foresees the probability of some complications, may advise injections. Therefore, it is best to discuss the pros and cons of this treatment with the doctor.
Side Effects and Complications
Following are some side effects that may be seen during pregnancy if Betnesol injections are administered –
- Betnesol is a corticosteroid that is used to reduce the body’s natural immunity and inflammatory responses. Hence, if taking Betnesol, the body is more susceptible to infections.
- Giving high doses of Betnesol can cause mood swings and behavioral changes. If Betnesol injection is administered, the woman becomes more irritable, depressed, confused. There may even have trouble falling asleep.
- It might affect the baby’s growth and development. It can lead to a delay in the baby’s growth and affect heart rate and movements.
- If Betnesol is given in high doses, it may pass on the baby while breastfeeding and affect adrenal gland-producing steroid hormones of the baby.
- In addition to injections, it can enter the body through other mediums too
- If certain skin creams containing Betnesol (even in small quantity) is used, it may be absorbed by the skin and may affect the baby. Therefore, it is suggested that to consult a doctor before using any steroid cream during pregnancy.
Betnesol injections should be avoided at all cost during pregnancy and even after delivery. Talk to the doctor to understand the severity of the condition and the risks involved. Ask about the alternative treatments which are safe.