What is Magnesium Sulfate Treatment?

Research suggests that the chemical compound magnesium sulfate has neuroprotective effects on babies. When exposed to magnesium sulfate in-utero, babies are less likely to develop cerebral palsy by 32% and severe motor impairments by 39%.

If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and you believe medical professionals violated standards of care, call our compassionate and experienced birth injury lawyers at (888) 592-1857 or fill out this online contact form. We will evaluate your case for free and answer any of your legal questions.

Who is Eligible for Magnesium Sulfate Treatment?

Physicians should administer magnesium sulfate to women with preterm premature rupture of the membranes (PPROM), preterm labor with intact membranes, or indicated preterm delivery. Magnesium sulfate treatment should begin between 24 and 32 weeks of gestation, or within a 24 hour period of time if the physician detects risk for imminent preterm labor. Physicians are obligated to administer magnesium sulfate in accordance with the following situations:

  • Imminent labor: When labor is forthcoming, expectant mothers should receive a 1 gram dose every hour until the baby is born.
  • Prolonged labor: If labor is going to take longer than 24 hours, physicians should delay magnesium sulfate doses until the cervix is ripe and the mother is closer to delivery.
  • C-section delivery: When a C-section is scheduled, physicians should administer an initial dose and follow up with maintenance therapy.
  • Emergency delivery: In the case of an emergency delivery, delivery should not be delayed in order to administer magnesium sulfate.

How Does Magnesium Sulfate Protect Babies?

Magnesium sulfate protects babies’ brains in the following ways:

  • Magnesium sulfate has antioxidant effects.
  • It stops the release of damaging molecules (cytokines) when inflammation is present.
  • Magnesium sulfate halts a process called neuronal excitability (excitotoxicity), in which brain trauma, ischemia and oxygen deprivation lead to brain damage.
  • Magnesium sulfate treatment stabilizes membranes in the brain.
  • It prevents large blood pressure fluctuations.
  • It increases blood flow within the brain.

What Are the Side Effects of Magnesium Sulfate Treatment?

When administered properly, the side effects of magnesium sulfate are minimal and uncommon. However, when physicians administer unsafe doses, monitor patients inadequately, prepare the drug incorrectly, and mistake magnesium sulfate for oxytocin, mothers are at risk for a number of side effects.

The following are possible maternal side effects of magnesium sulfate:

  • Sweating
  • Flushing
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Magnesium toxicity
  • Respiratory arrest (life-threatening loss of breath)
  • Pulmonary edema (life-threatening presence of fluid in the lungs)
  • Effects on the central nervous system
  • Hypersomnolence (excessive sleeping)
  • Muscle weakness
  • Visual changes or blurred vision
  • Loss of reflexes
  • Chest tightness

When Is It Inadvisable to Use the Magnesium Sulfate Treatment?

The potential benefits of the magnesium sulfate treatment outweigh its risks, but certain contraindications for magnesium sulfate do still exist. If the mother has any of the following conditions, magnesium sulfate treatment may be dangerous:

  • Myasthenia gravis (a neuromuscular disease)
  • Compromised heart function or heart conduction defects
  • Impaired kidneys (since the kidneys eliminate magnesium)

Legal Aid for Birth Injuries Caused by the Magnesium Sulfate Treatment

Physicians are obligated to understand how and when to administer magnesium sulfate. If you or your child were injured as a result of a mishandled magnesium sulfate treatment, it is medical malpractice. Call an experienced Michigan cerebral palsy attorney today at (888) 592-1857 and our skilled birth injury lawyers will review your case, answer your questions, and inform you of your legal options.

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