Association between the use of antenatal magnesium sulfate in preterm labor and adverse health outcomes in infants

Robert Mittendorf, James Dambrosia, Peter G. Pryde, Kwang Sun Lee, John G. Gianopoulos, Richard E. Besinger, Paul G. Tomich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

218 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to determine whether the use of antenatal magnesium sulfate prevents adverse outcomes (neonatal intraventricular hemorrhage, periventricular leucomalacia, death, and cerebral palsy). STUDY DESIGN: In a controlled trial, we randomized mothers in preterm labor to magnesium sulfate, "other" tocolytic, or placebo. At delivery, umbilical cord blood was collected for the later determination of serum ionized magnesium levels. Neonatal cranial ultrasound scans were obtained periodically for the diagnosis of intraventricular hemorrhage and periventricular leucomalacia. Among survivors, the diagnosis of cerebral palsy was made at age 18 months. RESULTS: Children with adverse outcomes had higher umbilical cord magnesium levels at delivery. In regression models that controlled for confounders, which included very low birth weight, magnesium remained a significant risk factor (adjusted odds ratio, 3.7; 95% Cl, 1.1-11.9; P = .03). CONCLUSION: Contrary to original hypotheses, this randomized trial found that the use of antenatal magnesium sulfate was associated with worse, not better, perinatal outcome in a dose-response fashion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1111-1118
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Adverse outcomes
  • Magnesium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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