Though recommended for pregnant women at risk of preterm birth to improve perinatal outcomes, antenatal corticosteroid (ACS) treatment can cause maternal hyperglycemia, especially in cases of glucose intolerance. A standardized protocol for preventing hyperglycemia during ACS treatment remains to be established. We herein retrospectively investigated the time-dependent changes in insulin dose required for maternal glycemic control during ACS treatment in gestational diabetes (GDM). Twelve singleton pregnant women with GDM who received 12 mg of betamethasone intramuscularly twice 24 hours apart were included in this analysis. Of those, eight also received ritodrine hydrochloride for preterm labor. The blood glucose levels were maintained at 70-120 mg/dL with continuous intravenous infusion of insulin and nothing by mouth for 48 hours after the first betamethasone administration. After the first dose of betamethasone, the insulin dosage needed for glycemic control gradually increased and reached a maximum (6.6 ± 5.8 units/hr) at 10 hours, then, decreased to 4.1 ± 1.5 units/hr at 24 hours. Similar changes in the insulin requirement were found after the second betamethasone dose (the maximum insulin dosage: 5.5 ± 1.6 units/hr at 9 hours following the second administration). Women treated with ritodrine hydrochloride needed more insulin, than those without ritodrine hydrochloride treatment (130.8 ± 15.0 vs. 76.8 ± 15.2 units/day, respectively,p < 0.05). Our data indicated that the requirement for insulin is highest 9-10 hours after each dose of betamethasone. When GDM is treated with ACS, levels of blood glucose should be carefully monitored, especially in patients treated with ritodrine hydrochloride.
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