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Magnesium sulfate Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Warnings

Magnesium sulfate is also known as: Epsom Salt, Sulfamag

Magnesium sulfate Pregnancy Warnings

Magnesium sulfate has been assigned to pregnancy category D by the FDA. There is positive evidence of human fetal risk, but the potential benefits of using the drug in pregnant women in certain situations may be acceptable despite the risks.

Newborns may show signs of magnesium toxicity (i.e. respiratory and/or neuromuscular depression) if the mother has received intravenous magnesium sulfate prior to delivery (especially if for a period of longer than 24 hours). Equipment for assisted ventilation as well as intravenous calcium should be immediately available for the first 24 to 48 hours after delivery. One study has reported that maternal magnesium sulfate treatment is associated with reduced brain blood flow perfusion in preterm infants. However, intravenous magnesium sulfate did not lead to lower neonate Apgar scores in a study of women treated for preeclampsia even though the newborns cord level indicated hypermagnesemia. The mean cord magnesium level (5.3 mEq/100 mL) was equivalent to the mean maternal serum level. Cord serum magnesium levels do not usually correlate with infant toxicity. The Collaborative Perinatal Project monitored 50,282 mother-child pairs, 141 of which had been exposed to magnesium sulfate during pregnancy. No reports or evidence were found linking congenital birth defects with magnesium sulfate. A study of 7000 offspring of mothers treated for preeclampsia noted no adverse effects due to magnesium sulfate therapy in the fetuses or newborns. One study compared the newborn of women with pregnancy-induced hypertension who received magnesium sulfate with women who did not receive treatment. Neurologic behavior in the infants was similar in both groups except that the exposed group had decreased active tone of the neck extensors the day after birth. Long-term infusions of magnesium (such as those used for tocolysis) may lead to persistent hypocalcemia and congenital rickets in the fetus. Case reports of 2 women receiving 9 or 14 weeks of intravenous magnesium therapy prior to delivery noted bony abnormalities. Slight hypocalcemia occurred in one infant. Both infants were treated with intravenous calcium for 3 to 5 days and then given bottle feedings without added calcium or vitamin D. The only noted physical abnormality at 3 year follow-up was dental enamel hypoplasia in one infant. Fetal hypermagnesemia may have decreased parathyroid hormone release and lead to fetal hypocalcemia. The combination of in utero acquired magnesium sulfate and gentamicin (administered after birth) may lead to respiratory depression in the newborn. The mechanism of this interaction is not known. Animal studies have confirmed this drug interaction.

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Magnesium sulfate Breastfeeding Warnings

Magnesium is excreted into human milk. Adverse effects in the nursing infant are unlikely. Magnesium sulfate is considered compatible with breast-feeding by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Ten preeclamptic women received a 4 gram loading dose of magnesium sulfate, followed by a maintenance dose of 1 gram per hour for 24 hours. After 24 hours, the human milk magnesium levels were the same as those of control subjects. The breast-fed infant would receive only 1.5 mg more of magnesium than an infant whose mother did not receive magnesium sulfate prior to and for 24 hours after delivery.

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References for pregnancy information

  1. Rantonen T, Kaapa P, Gronlund J, Ekblad U, Helenius H, Kero P, Valimaki I "Maternal magnesium sulfate treatment is associated with reduced brain-blood flow perfusion in preterm infants." Crit Care Med 29 (2001): 1460-5
  2. Pruett KM, Kirshon B, Cotton DB, Adam K, Doody KJ "The effects of magnesium sulfate therapy on Apgar scores." Am J Obstet Gynecol 159 (1988): 1047-8
  3. Hallak M, Berry SM, Madincea F, Romero R, Evans MI, Cotton DB "Fetal serum and amniotic fluid magnesium concentrations with maternal treatment." Obstet Gynecol 81 (1993): 185-8
  4. Green KW, Key TC, Coen R, Resnik R "The effects of maternally administered magnesium sulfate on the neonate." Am J Obstet Gynecol 146 (1983): 29-33
  5. Belfort MA, Saade GR, Moise KJ Jr "The effect of magnesium sulfate on maternal and fetal blood flow in pregnancy-induced hypertension." Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 72 (1993): 526-30
  6. Hankins GD, Hammond TL, Yeomans ER "Amniotic cavity accumulation of magnesium with prolonged magnesium sulfate tocolysis." J Reprod Med 36 (1991): 446-9
  7. Atkinson MW, Belfort MA, Saade GR, Moise KJ Jr "The relation between magnesium sulfate therapy and fetal heart rate variability." Obstet Gynecol 83 (1994): 967-70
  8. Lin CC, Pielet BW, Poon E, Sun G "Effect of magnesium sulfate on fetal heart rate variability in preeclamptic patients during labor." Am J Perinatol 5 (1988): 208-13
  9. "Product Information. Magnesium Sulfate (magnesium sulfate)." Abbott Pharmaceutical, Abbott Park, IL.
  10. Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ.. "Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 5th ed." Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins (1998):

References for breastfeeding information

  1. Cruikshank DP, Varner MW, Pitkin RM "Breast milk magnesium and calcium concentrations following magnesium sulfate treatment." Am J Obstet Gynecol 143 (1982): 685-8
  2. Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ.. "Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 5th ed." Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins (1998):
  3. "Product Information. Magnesium Sulfate (magnesium sulfate)." Abbott Pharmaceutical, Abbott Park, IL.

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