A new study says a cheap drug given to pregnant women could cut the risk of cerebral palsy in premature babies nearly in half by reducing preterm labor.
Cerebral palsy is caused by early preterm birth at 23 to 31 weeks gestation.
The study presented at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine meeting in Dallas, shows that for pennies a dose, Epsom salt, also known as magnesium sulfate could save many children from the condition. It works by halting contractions when women go into premature labor.
In the study – among a group of more than 2,241 women at 20 sites across the U.S., all the patients were at high risk of going into preterm labor. Doctors randomly assigned some women to get an IV of magnesium sulfate when delivery seemed imminent, while others got a placebo.
Among the women on the drug 1.9 percent had babies with moderate or severe cerebral palsy. 3.5 percent of women in the group, who didn’t get the drug, gave birth to babies with moderate or severe cerebral palsy.
The good news here is that minimal side effects include feeling flushed or sweaty, although some women can have more severe reactions such as respiratory problems. That’s why many doctors have stopped using magnesium sulfate during deliveries.
These studies confirm those of a 2003 Australian study. A spokesperson from the United Cerebral Palsy says the study is “very promising”.
About 2 or 3 children of 1,000 over the age of three are diagnosed with CP every year. Almost every delivery room in the country already stocks Epsom salts. #