How Does Terbutaline Affect the Baby?

Cynthia Flynn's picture


Dear Midwife,
I recently started having preterm labor at 26 weeks. I am now 28 weeks and 1 cm dilated external os 0 cm dilated internal os. I'm on strict bedrest and Terbutaline 5 mg every six hours.

My doctor tried to decrease but I started with more contractions so I am on this medication for a while.

What can some of the side effects be on my unborn son? I know if my OB is very conservative when it comes to medicines and wants me off soon. I want off also even if it means more bed rest. I guess Terbutaline is much better than treating pre-term labor with alcohol like they used to.

Anyway, whatever information you can get me would be great.


Of course no one wants a pregnant woman to take medication unless there is a very good reason, and preventing a birth at 26-28 weeks is definitely a very good reason.

I'm not aware of any research that shows damage to the fetus, but there may be subtle effects long-term. I still think it's the lesser of two evils, though, because the risks of having a very premature birth are known and even greater.

-- Cynthia, CNM. PhD.