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Randomised controlled trial of effect of terbutaline before elective caesarean section on postnatal respiration and glucose homeostasis
  1. Gabriella Eisler,
  2. Ragnhild Hjertberg,
  3. Hugo Lagercrantz
  1. Karolinska Institute, Astrid Lindgren Children’s Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden
  1. Professor H Lagercrantz Neonatal Unit Karolinska Hospital S-171 76 Stockholm Sweden.


AIM To determine if terbutaline given to mothers before elective caesarean section facilitates neonatal respiration and metabolism.

METHODS A randomised controlled trial of 25 full term infants delivered by elective caesarean section was conducted. The mothers received a continuous infusion of terbutaline or saline 120–0 minutes before birth. Umbilical artery blood was collected at birth and analysed for blood gases and catecholamines. The lung function of each infant was assessed two hours after birth, and blood pressure, heart rate, blood glucose and body temperature were monitored until 24 hours of age.

RESULTS The infants of the treated mothers (n=13) had significantly higher dynamic lung compliance (p<0.001), lower airway resistance (p<0.001), and respiratory frequency than control infants (n=12). Blood glucose and adrenaline concentrations were significantly higher in the treated group (p=0.0014 and p<0.01). None of these infants had any clinical respiratory difficulties; there were two cases of transient tachypnoea in the control group. No negative side effects due to the terbutaline treatment were seen among the infants. The mothers felt no discomfort caused by the terbutaline infusion, although they bled more during surgery (p=0.03).

CONCLUSION Stimulation of the β adrenoceptors in utero with terbutaline infusion to the mothers promotes neonatal respiratory and metabolic adaptation after elective caesarean section.

  • caesarean section
  • terbutaline
  • lung function
  • blood glucose
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