HomePregnancyBetnesol Injection During Pregnancy: Uses, Dosage & Side Effects

Betnesol Injection During Pregnancy: Uses, Dosage & Side Effects


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Every pregnancy is different because every woman’s body is different and changes differently. While some women have a healthy, low-risk pregnancy with very minimal complications, some women struggle with high-risk pregnancies with multiple pregnancy complications.

According to the WHO, around 15 million babies are born pre-term and approximately 1 million of them are either stillborn or eventually die due to complications in the new born. Most pre-term babies are born with underdeveloped organs, especially the lungs. Hence, you’d often find premature babies stationed in the NICU with oxygen support on the side.

This article will explore the betnesol injection uses in pregnancy, why it is so crucial to ensure optimal health of the babies, and the dosage and side effects associated with its improper administration.

What is Betnesol?

Before we explore more about the administration of betnesol injection during pregnancy, it is crucial we first completely understand what betnesol actually is.

Betnesol, chemically known as betamethasone sodium phosphate, is a type of corticosteroid that treats a variety of complications, including:

  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Inflammation
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Regulate salt balance
  • Regulate fluid balance, etc.

During pregnancy, especially in high-risk pregnancies where there is a possibility of pre-term birth, doctors advise getting a betnesol injection during pregnancy to quicken the lung maturity of the baby. However, its administration needs to be very well calculated. Your doctors will discuss and weigh out the pros and cons before coming to a decision.

Is Betnesol Injection Safe during Pregnancy?

The administration of betnesol 12 mg injection uses in pregnancy is still a matter of controversy. FDA or the US Food and Drug Administration classifies Betnesol as a category-C drug.

This means that pre-clinical trials on animals have found that Betnesol has damaging impacts on the fetus. Until now, there aren’t many conclusive studies on humans that determine its benefits or adverse effects yet.

So, the safety of this drug will vary from one pregnancy to the other. Also, it is often treated as a “last resort” and administered only when the benefits outweigh the risks of the drug, keeping the wellness of both the mother and the fetus into consideration.

Additionally, the betnesol injection is generally administered in two doses, 24 hours apart. Its administration for prolonged periods isn’t advised since it leads to long-term and permanent damage to the fetus.

In most cases, betnesol is administered to pregnant women who are on the brink of pre-term delivery. It promotes lung maturity in the baby to deter potential complications after birth.

Betnesol requires a prescription and should only be administered after thorough and detailed discussions about the pros and cons with the OBGYN.

What kinds of Pregnancy Complications does Betnesol Help with?

The usage of betnesol injections isn’t limited to just pregnancy. However, there are three primary pregnancy complications that betnesol injections can help with:

Preterm labor

Most babies born prematurely struggle with one common complication – underdeveloped lungs. In order to prevent any potential risks and accelerate lung development, betnesol injections are administered to increase the surfactant levels that support lung development in the fetus.

Fetal Fibronectin Test (FFT)

Fetal fibronectin is a type of protein, whose secretion into the cervix leads to interrupted growth of the fetus. A situation like this typically leads to pre-term birth, which can then be managed with the administration of betnesol injection. Your doctor will perform the FFT test first to analyze the severity of the secretion before administering the injection.

Premature Rupture of Membranes

Abbreviated as PROM, this is a very severe pregnancy complication where the fetal membranes rupture before the 37 weeks mark. This contributes to pre-term birth, which can then be managed via a betnesol injection.

What is the Ideal Dosage of Betnesol during Pregnancy?

The dosage of inj betnesol in pregnancy depends on the severity or allied risk in the pregnancy. If your OBGYN determines that the mother is showcasing signs of premature birth, they will assess the situation, and conduct relevant tests before finalizing whether or not the betnesol injection would help.

As for the dosage, there is no “standard” dosage, and will depend on the intensity of prematurity. A baby born during 30-32 weeks of gestation will require a different dosage than a baby born at 28-30 weeks.

Additionally, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) reports that the dosage will depend on the “family’s decision regarding resuscitation.”

How is Betnesol Injection Administered during Pregnancy?

The administration of betnesol depends on its reason for administration.

  • For example, if the betnesol injection is being administered to prevent the risks of pre-term birth, it is administered in the injection form. It is directly injected into the veins or as an intramuscular injection in the form of a drip.
  • If betnesol is being used to treat inflammation, the same is applied topically on the target area to reduce the inflammation, pain, and discomfort that’s appearing on the skin.

During pregnancy, betnesol is administered in two doses, 24 hours apart to accelerate the lung development of the fetus. It isn’t for long-term usage, as we mentioned before.

What are the Side-effects of Betnesol Injection?

The side effects of betnesol injection during pregnancy are worth keeping in mind, especially in expecting mothers with pre-existing complications like diabetes.

Some of the side-effects are:

  • Administration of betnesol injection causes a sharp spike in blood sugar levels, which can be troubling for pregnant women who have gestational diabetes.
  • Since betnesol is a corticosteroid, it increases the body’s susceptibility to infections.
  • Uncontrolled or more than the required dosage of betnesol can lead to potential behavioral changes, mood swings, depression, irritability, etc.
  • Untimely administration might lead to growth delays in the babies, alongside bradycardia or reduced heart rate in the baby.

Since these risks are potentially fatal to the mother and child, the administration of the betnesol injection in pregnancy is a very calculated decision. It is only administered when there are no other ways available.


  • When is Betnesol Injection administered during pregnancy?

The administration of betnesol injection prevents the risks of pre-term birth complications, hence is administered between 24-33 weeks of gestation.

  • Is Betnesol injection needed for every pregnant woman?

No, betnesol injection is an “emergency” drug that’s only used when needed and when the benefits of the drug outweigh the risks.

  • Is 12 mg dose of betnesol safe during pregnancy?

The dosage of betnesol during pregnancy depends on the severity of the pre-term birth complications, the month of pregnancy, etc.


That is all the information you will need to understand what betnesol is and what to ask and consider if your doctor suggests it. We hope it clarifies all your doubts regarding the use of betnesol injection in pregnancy, its benefits, and its side effects. Since its administration can result in a lot of sensitive changes and complications in the body, it’s ideal you discuss your options with your OBGYN before getting the injection.

Srujana Mohanty
She is the Managing Editor of Cogito137, one of India’s leading student-run science communication magazines. She's been working in scientific and medical writing and editing since 2018, also associated with the quality assurance team of scientific journal editing. Majored in Chemistry with a minor in Biology at IISER Kolkata, Srujana loves doodling and watching series.


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