Magnesium May Reduce Risks to Children Born Prematurely
Infants born before 37 weeks' gestation are considered premature, and the
risk of dying at birth increases with each week that the child is born
early. The primary difficulty with premature infants is poor lung
development and the inability to breathe on their own. Premature children
also tend to have higher rates of lung, intestinal, immune system, and
neurological problems. Preterm labor not associated with rupture of the
membranes or bleeding can be stopped with bed rest and proper hydration in
up to 50% of cases. However, if the mother is bleeding or her amniotic sac
has ruptured, little can be done to stop the delivery. Factors that
contribute to premature birth are largely unknown.
In the new study, 1,062 pregnant women who had gone into labor with fetuses
less than 30 weeks' gestation were randomly assigned to receive either
intravenous (IV) magnesium sulfate (0.5 g/ml), or placebo (sodium
chloride), in addition to standard medical care. All women received 8 ml of
their respective treatment fluid over the first 20 minutes and then 2 ml
per hour until delivery or for 24 hours, whichever came first. All children
were periodically monitored until they reached the age of two years.
Mortality rates were documented and surviving children were assessed for
development of cerebral palsy and for motor function (walking, standing).
Each child was also assessed for vision, hearing, and psychological
See All LifeSource Vitamins Magnesium Products, Articles, and
A significant reduction was observed in the magnesium group, compared with
the placebo group, in the proportion of children at the age of two years
who had substantial motor abnormalities. Total mortality and the risk of
developing cerebral palsy were also lower in the magnesium group; however,
these results did not reach statistical significance. Despite the lack of
statistical significance, the authors of the study suggested that these
benefits may still be clinically important. No significant vision or
hearing difference was observed between groups.
Previous studies have found that IV administration of magnesium to mothers
may be useful in reducing the risk of infant death and cerebral palsy.
Because some neurological problems do not develop until after the age of
two years, it is possible that IV magnesium may provide other long-term
benefits after the age of two. More research is necessary to determine if
this would be true.
Healthnotes Newswire - The increased risk of infant mortality and cerebral palsy associated with premature birth can be prevented to some extent by giving the mother intravenous magnesium sulfate at the onset of labor, according to a new study in (JAMA) The Journal of the American Medical Association (2003;290:2669-76).
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