Background:Maternal antenatal creatine supplementation protects the brain, kidney, and diaphragm against the effects of birth asphyxia in the spiny mouse. In this study, we examined creatine's potential to prevent damage to axial skeletal muscles.Methods:Pregnant spiny mice were fed a control or creatine-supplemented diet from mid-pregnancy, and 1 d before term (39 d), fetuses were delivered by c-section with or without 7.5 min of birth asphyxia. At 24 h or 33 ± 2 d after birth, gastrocnemius muscles were obtained for ex-vivo study of twitch-tension, muscle fatigue, and structural and histochemical analysis.Results:Birth asphyxia significantly reduced cross-sectional area of all muscle fiber types (P < 0.05), and increased fatigue caused by repeated tetanic contractions at 24 h of age (P < 0.05). There were fewer (P < 0.05) Type I and IIa fibers and more (P < 0.05) Type IIb fibers in male gastrocnemius at 33 d of age. Muscle oxidative capacity was reduced (P < 0.05) in males at 24 h and 33 d and in females at 24 h only. Maternal creatine treatment prevented all asphyxia-induced changes in the gastrocnemius, improved motor performance.Conclusion:This study demonstrates that creatine loading before birth protects the muscle from asphyxia-induced damage at birth.