Thursday, December 11, 2008

Three Things They'll Give You in Pre-Term Labor

If you happen to go into labor really early (i.e. before 30 weeks), here are three things they will almost definitely give you when you're admitted to the hospital:
  1. Magnesium Sulfate- This is beneficial for multiple reasons but the most "across-the board" benefit is that it can be helpful in stopping contractions and, thus, stopping, or at the very least slowing, the progression of labor. Women who've received it will tell you- it causes nausea and intense "hot flashes". Not the most pleasant sensation but, really, given the circumstances, it's not the worst thing in the world either.
  2. Antibiotics- At this point in a pregnancy you have not been tested for group-B strep yet. The safest thing they can do is give you antibiotics "just in case". Even if you don't have it, it won't hurt you or the baby. They give you these through the IV and you probably will not even notice.
  3. Steroids- Steroid shots are often given to the mother to try to boost lung development in the fetus. These shots are usually given in the buttocks and they are delivered in two doses, spaced 24 hours apart. I was told they had only been proven to be helpful if both doses are administered.
It's likely you could receive other drugs and treatments too but, in a pre-term labor situation, I can all but guarantee those are three medications you should be prepared to receive. For the record? In my case, the magnesium did not stop my labor, I was negative for group-B strep, and I only managed to receive one dose of steroids. But, hey... it was worth a shot!


Kris said...

In our case, despite no evidence of infection, our son was also given antibiotics after birth. He was given gentimicin, an ototoxic drug, necessitating multiple repeat hearing checks throughout his early years.

Shawnee said...

I will always remember those lovely steroid shots! My behind burned for quite sometime but it was definitely worth every minute of burning. Fortunately I was able to receive both steroid shots as I was 29 weeks at the time. I believe this was the factor that my daughter never had to receive any breathing support after her birth. They gave me Terbutaline (sp?) shots instead of the magnesium which from the sounds of it I should be thankful for. The shots they gave me increased my heart rate to 140 and made me shake but no other side effects.