The Washington Post reports that a medical research study found that mothers who received magnesium sulfate had a reduced risk of having children with cerebral palsy (CP). The study was published in The New England Journal of Medicine.This study included 2,241 women who were at high risk for delivering early (pre-term). The study defined early birth as birth prior to 32 weeks gestation. Some women were selected to receive magnesium sulfate and others were selected to receive a placebo. 37-42 weeks is considered full term. As the women entered labor, those women selected to receive magnesium sulfate were given it intravenously for 12 hours, or until labor had passed or the women gave birth. In the past magnesium sulfate has been shown to reduce high blood pressure caused by pregnancy.
The results of the study showed no difference in mortality of the infants in the placebo or magnesium sulfate groups. However, there were fewer children born with cerebral palsy in the magnesium sulfate group. 1.9% had cerebral palsy in the magnesium sulfate group; 3.5% had CP in the placebo group.
The research was led by Dwight Rouse, M.D. at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
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