Efficacy of terbutaline in preterm labour - our experience

Priyadarshini Bai G., Ravi Kumar P., T. N. Kumar


Background: Preterm birth is one of the important causes of perinatal mortality and morbidity in developed countries after congenital malformations. Postponement of delivery plays essential role in preventing such incidences by allowing fetal lung maturity.

Methods: This is a prospective study conducted over a period of 20 months among the patients admitted for preterm labour with gestational period between 27 to 36 weeks. After the patients obeyed all the inclusion criteria, they were administered terbutaline 250 µg subcutaneously every 8th hourly followed by 5 mg tablet orally twice daily till contractions ceased. The patients were analysed for gestational period at which they presented with preterm labour contractions, associated risk factors, response to terbutaline, and gestational period at delivery, perinatal complications, neonatal and maternal outcomes. The data obtained were analysed by descriptive analysis.

Results: There were 1,678 deliveries during study period, out of which 207 (12%) presented with preterm labour and 20 (~10%) patients received terbutaline. Idiopathic (50%) and vaginal infections (25%) were common causes of preterm labour among the patients who received terbutaline. The labour was prolonged by 3 - 5 days among 8 patients, 7 - 15 days in 9 patients and 15 - 30 days in 3 patients. Common maternal side effects were nausea and tremors. Neonatal outcome was good in most of the cases except in 5 (25%) neonates who required NICU admission but they all recovered well without any morbidity.

Conclusions: Administration of terbutaline prolonged labour without any serious maternal complications and better neonatal outcome as 90% of the neonates were born without any complications. Hence, terbutaline can be used as a safe and effective tocolytic agent among patients presenting with preterm labour.


Preterm labour, Terbutaline, Tocolytic, Efficacy, Safety, Gestational

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