Perioperative dexamethasone with neuraxial anesthesia for scheduled cesarean delivery and neonatal hypoglycemia

Minhazur Sarker, Chelsea DeBolt, Chloe Getrajdman, Paige Rattner, Daniel Katz, Lauren Ferrara, Joanne Stone, Angela Bianco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: While the use of dexamethasone for cesarean delivery to prevent post-operative nausea and vomiting has become routine, the impact on fetal glucose metabolism is unknown. We aim to examine whether perioperative dexamethasone administration prior to scheduled non-labor cesarean delivery is associated with neonatal hypoglycemia. Study design: Multi-institution retrospective cohort study of singleton, full-term, non-anomalous pregnancies delivered by scheduled non-labor cesarean delivery with neuraxial anesthesia from 2013 to 2019. The exposure was intravenous dexamethasone after neuraxial anesthesia placement. Primary outcome was neonatal hypoglycemia and secondary outcomes included low Apgar, umbilical artery pH < 7.1, NICU admission, and meconium-stained amniotic fluid. A subgroup analysis was performed on pregnancies complicated by diabetes (both gestational and pre-gestational). Multivariate regression adjusting for baseline differences and potential confounders was used to the determine the strength of association between dexamethasone and adverse outcomes. Results: Of the 4991 women in the study, 2719 (54.5%) received dexamethasone. Compared to non-receipt, women receiving dexamethasone were older, more likely to be White, non-Hispanic, have private insurance, and less likely to have diabetes. Perioperative dexamethasone receipt was not associated with neonatal hypoglycemia (adjusted OR 0.90, 95% CI 0.71–1.14). In a subgroup analysis of the 466 (9.3%) pregnancies complicated by pre-gestational and gestational diabetes, 219 (47.0%) received dexamethasone and receipt was associated with a significantly increased rate of neonatal hypoglycemia (adjusted OR 1.96, 95% CI 1.28–3.00). No significant associations were found between perioperative dexamethasone and other outcomes. Conclusions: Dexamethasone administration after neuraxial anesthesia placement for scheduled non-labor cesarean delivery is associated with altered neonatal glucose metabolism only in pregnancies complicated by diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-114
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • Cesarean delivery
  • Dexamethasone
  • Diabetes
  • Glucose
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Neuraxial
  • Perioperative


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