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Teen Health

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Treatment Stops Repeated Preterm Labor

Magnesium Treatment Allows Women to Continue Pregnancy Without More Episodes of Early Labor

Study's Findings continued...

To try to stop preterm labor, all of the women had been treated with magnesium sulfate which is used to stop preterm labor; it slows contractions of the uterus.

By delaying preterm labor, doctors can use other medications to help speed up the baby's lung development and improve the baby's chance of survival. The extra time could also allow mothers to be transferred to a more specialized hospital, if needed.

For 154 of the women in the study, the magnesium treatment stopped preterm labor for at least seven days. Out of that group, 87.7% delivered their babies at 34 weeks or later. After treatment these women continued their pregnancy without other episodes or preterm labor.

Delaying Early Delivery Again

The other 19 women had another episode of preterm labor before reaching 34 weeks. In 11 of those cases, magnesium treatment delayed delivery for at least 48 hours. The remaining eight women gave birth less than 24 hours after being readmitted to the hospital.

For the minority of magnesium-treated women who have another round of preterm labor, magnesium treatment might help. In Brost's study, magnesium sulfate delayed recurrent preterm labor long enough for the steroid to work in about half of the cases, according to the news release.

Side Effects

Magnesium treatment can tire mothers-to-be and make them feel somewhat disoriented. Other side effects include a very dry mouth, congestion, and sensitivity to light. Serious side effects can occur, but they're rare, says Brost, in the news release.

The findings were presented in Reno/Lake Tahoe, Nev., at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's 25th annual meeting.

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