Pharmacology Reproductive & Maternity Meds #2

Question

A nurse is providing care for a client who is in preterm labor at 29 weeks of gestation. Which of the following medications should the nurse expect the provider to prescribe to accelerate fetal lung maturity?

Answers

  1. Oxytocin
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because oxytocin is given to cause contractions to occur for initiation of labor for birth. This medication should not be given at this time since it would precipitate labor and not allow time for the fetal lungs to mature before birth.

  2. Betamethasone
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because betamethasone is a glucocorticoid steroid given in-utero to help accelerate the maturity of the lungs of a preterm baby. Intramuscular betamethasone is given in low doses, as soon as possible when preterm birth is inevitable, The side effects are minimal and the outcome for the premature infant is greatly improved.

  3. Methylergometrine
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because methylergometrine is used to prevent postpartum hemorrhage by improving uterine muscle tone and strength of the contractions needed to involute the uterus. This medication is not needed at this time.

  4. Magnesium sulfate
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because magnesium sulfate is not given to accelerate fetal lung maturity. Magnesium sulfate may be given along with betamethasone as a tocolytic. A tocolytic is given to decrease contractions and might be needed to help prevent birth before the fetus has time for the betamethasone to mature the lungs.

Overview

Betamethasone is a glucocorticoid given to the pregnant mother who is at-risk of delivering a preterm infant. This is needed to help mature fetal lungs and improve the outcome of the preterm infant.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Betamethasone is a steroid given in-utero to help accelerate the maturity of the lungs of a preterm baby. Intramuscular betamethasone is given in low doses, as soon as possible when preterm birth is inevitable, The side effects are minimal and the outcome for the premature infant is greatly improved. If multiple doses are administered, there is some risk of lower birth weight and smaller head sizes.

Test Taking Tip

Remember, good distractors will make sure the tester thinks through the answers and understands enough details to eliminate things that are associated with that condition but might do the opposite of the intended therapeutic effect.

Video Rationale