Do antenatal steroids cause an increase in the
white blood cell (WBC) count?
Antenatal betamethasone or dexamethasone therapy appears to cause a transient
increase in the maternal white blood cell count. The mean WBC increases by
about 30% within 24 hours. A rise in the neutrophil count and
drop in the lymphocyte count has been noted as early as two hours
after the first injection of betamethasone. In most patients the WBC
count returns to baseline on day three
following the first betamethasone or dexamethasone injection.
Danesh A, et. al., .Effects of antenatal corticosteroids on maternal serum indicators of infection
in women at risk for preterm delivery: A randomized trial comparing
betamethasone and dexamethasone.J Res Med Sci. 2012 Oct;17(10):911-7.PMID:23825988
Vaisbuch E, et al., The effect of betamethasone administration to pregnant women on maternal serum
indicators of infection.J Perinat Med. 2002;30(4):287-91. PMID:12235715
Kadanali S,et. al., Changes in leukocyte, granulocyte and lymphocyte counts following antenatal
betamethasone administration to pregnant women.Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 1997 Sep;58(3):269-74.
Wallace EM, et al. Haematological effects of betamethasone treatment in late pregnancy.Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 1998 Nov;38(4):396-8.
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