Twenty-one RCTs enrolling a total of 1424 participants were eligible for this review . All were RCTs , but methods used for random allocation were not always clear. Allocation concealment, blinding of the intervention , and blinding of outcome assessments most often were satisfactory. Late steroid treatment was associated with a reduction in neonatal mortality (at 28 days) but no reduction in mortality at 36 weeks, at discharge, or at latest reported age. Benefits of delayed steroid treatment included reductions in failure to extubate by 3, 7, or 28 days; bronchopulmonary dysplasia both at 28 days of life and at 36 weeks' postmenstrual age; need for late rescue treatment with dexamethasone; discharge on home oxygen; and death or bronchopulmonary dysplasia both at 28 days of life and at 36 weeks' postmenstrual age. Data revealed a trend towards increased risk of infection and gastrointestinal bleeding but no increase in risk of necrotising enterocolitis. Short-term adverse affects included hyperglycaemia , glycosuria, and hypertension . Investigators reported an increase in severe retinopathy of prematurity but no significant increase in blindness. Trial results showed a trend towards reduction in severe intraventricular haemorrhage, but only five studies enrolling 247 infants reported this outcome . Trends towards an increase in cerebral palsy or abnormal neurological examination findings were partly offset by a trend in the opposite direction involving death before late follow-up. The combined rate of death or cerebral palsy was not significantly different between steroid and control groups. Major neurosensory disability and the combined rate of death or major neurosensory disability were not significantly different between steroid and control groups. There were no substantial differences between groups for other outcomes in later childhood, including respiratory health or function, blood pressure, or growth, although there were fewer participants with a clinically important reduction in forced expired volume in one second (FEV 1 ) on respiratory function testing in the dexamethasone group.