Research presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists has found that magnesium reduces fevers during childbirth, as well as complications among newborns. The study followed 63,000 deliveries from Northwestern Memorial Hospital, in Chicago, between 2007 and 2014. Of these, 6,163 women developed fevers of at least 100.4° F during labor.
Of the women who developed fevers, 2,190 received magnesium sulfate intravenously during their labor.
Rates of fever at maternity dropped by half, to 4.3 percent, in women who received the magnesium, versus 9.9 percent in those who did not. The rate of newborn complications was also significantly lower among women given magnesium.
The study, led by Dr. Elizabeth Lange, an attending physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, is the first of its kind to investigate the effect of magnesium on childbirth. “By reducing the incidence of maternal fever, magnesium sulfate therapy may also reduce the incidence of complications in newborns,” says Lange.