By: 4 November 2015
Magnesium during labour may reduce risk of fever in mothers and complications in babies

Magnesium during labour may reduce risk of fever in mothers and complications in babies

Women who received magnesium sulfate during labour were less likely to develop maternal fever, a condition that can lead to a variety of complications in newborns including difficulty breathing, seizures, cerebral palsy and a condition known as “floppy baby syndrome,” characterised by inadequate muscle tone, according to a retrospective study presented at the Anesthesiology 2015 annual meeting.

Elizabeth Lange, lead author of the study and obstetrical anaesthetist-attending physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, and colleagues studied data from live births at Northwestern Memorial Hospital between 2007 and 2014. Nearly 63,000 deliveries met the study criteria.

According to the data, 6,163 labouring mothers developed maternal fever (9.8 per cent), defined as a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or above. These women tended to be first-time mothers, full term, were not preeclamptic, had received an epidural or spinal anaesthesia and required caesarean delivery. Among those who developed fevers, 2,190 received intravenous magnesium during their labour for the prevention or management of other pregnancy-related conditions.

Maternal fever was found to be lower in women who received magnesium than those who did not (4.3 per cent vs. 9.9 per cent).

Lange’s study is the first-of-its-kind to focus on the association between magnesium sulfate and maternal fever. Previous animal studies have demonstrated the ability of magnesium sulfate to suppress certain signalling molecules in the immune system called interleukin-6, which are thought to modulate maternal temperature.

“The most important finding in this study is that magnesium appears to have a protective effect on maternal fever during labour,” said Lange. “By reducing the incidence of maternal fever, magnesium sulfate therapy may also reduce the incidence of complications in newborns.”

The study noted that there is a known association between epidural and spinal anaesthesia and fever. Lange said that further studies should be done to determine how best to use magnesium sulfate to prevent fever, looking at factors such as how long magnesium should be administered.

Source: Newswire