When babies are knowingly going to be born prematurely, or there is a high risk that they might be, there are a number of things that can be done to help the baby. There is evidence that giving steroids to the mother antenatally helps to reduce the incidence of respiratory distress syndrome and other problems in the baby, and has no adverse side effects. Also, it’s best if the mother, if possible, avoids drugs that are known to depress the baby’s breathing, such as pethidine.Rest can help to prolong a pregnancy, but long-term bedrest carries its own potential risks and complications. It might also be difficult to rest effectively at home, and therefore it might be suggested to the woman that she goes to hospital. This might not be desirable, or even possible, if there are other children to consider. One definite advantage of being in hospital would be that if labour were to start, preparations for the baby’s birth could be made as quickly as possible. This alone may be of the greatest significance for the survival of a premature baby.