Investigating corticosteroid treatment for caesarean birth

With funding from Cure Kids, Dr Katie Groom is investigating whether babies born by planned caesarean section, at term or near-term, are benefitting from corticosteroid treatment. The data gathered by this study will inform a larger trial that could lead to worldwide change in clinical practice.

Dr Katie Groom

University of Auckland

In the early 1970s, Doctors Mont Liggins and Ross Howie identified that corticosteroids improved lung function for pre-term newborns when administered to mothers before the birth. Since then, this finding has saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

Through changes in obstetric practice, the use of corticosteroids has now extended to later gestational ages and other newborn groups at risk of breathing problems. One of these groups is babies born by planned or elective caesarean section. However, doctors don’t yet know if using corticosteroids before a planned caesarean section is necessary or effective, or if it could even have negative health effects.

Assessing the feasibility of a trial

Dr Katie Groom from the University of Auckland’s Liggins institute (named in memory of Mont Liggins) will investigate whether babies born by planned caesarean section birth, at term or near term, are benefitting from corticosteroid treatment.

In particular, Dr Groom will assess the willingness of mothers to participate in a trial of this type and identify why some might not want to participate. The data gathered will inform a larger trial that could lead to worldwide change in clinical practice around the use of corticosteroids for planned caesarean section after 35 weeks of pregnancy.

The data gathered by this study will inform a larger trial that could lead to worldwide change in clinical practice.

Cure Kids is funding the entire study

We are helping Dr Groom by funding a Feasibility Study to inform the most effective national roll-out of the larger multi-centre trial.