Neonatal magnesium levels are safe after maternal MgSO4 administration: a comparison between unexposed preterm neonates and neonates exposed for fetal neuroprotection or maternal eclampsia prevention-a cohort study

Eur J Pediatr. 2022 Aug;181(8):2971-2980. doi: 10.1007/s00431-022-04507-7. Epub 2022 May 21.


To objective of this study was to compare neonatal magnesemia in the first 15 days of neonatal life between three groups: a control group not exposed to MgSO4, a neuroprotection group, and an eclampsia prevention group, and to explore its associations with child outcomes. A retrospective single-centre cohort study was performed in a tertiary care setting. Infants admitted at the neonatal intensive care unit born between 24 and 32 weeks' gestation, regardless of etiology of preterm birth, were included. The mean outcome measure was neonatal magnesemia (mmol/L). Linear mixed regression of neonatal magnesemia on exposure group and day of life was done. Generalised estimating equation models of child outcomes on neonatal magnesemia according to exposure group and day of life were made. The analyses showed that in neonatal magnesemia is significantly higher in the preeclampsia group compared to the control and neuroprotection groups. On the day of birth, this is irrespective of maternal magnesemia (preeclampsia vs control groups), and the maternal total dose or duration of MgSO4 administration (preeclampsia vs neuroprotection group). No differences were found in short-term composite outcome between the three groups.

Conclusion: We found mean differences in neonatal magnesemia between children not exposed to MgSO4 antenatally, children exposed for fetal neuroprotection, and children exposed for maternal eclampsia prevention. A 4-g loading and 1-g/h maintenance doses, for fetal neuroprotection and eclampsia prevention, appear to be safe on the short term for the neonate.

What is known: • Magnesium sulphate is a valuable medicine in obstetrics. The main indications are prevention of eclampsia and fetal neuroprotection. The most used dosage is a 4- or 6-g loading dose and a 1- or 2-g per h maintenance dose. It reduces neuromotor disabilities in extreme-to-moderate preterm born children.

What is new: • Maternal concentrations are supraphysiological and the maternal total dose can be high. Concentrations in neonates appear to remain in safe ranges. A dosage of 4-g loading and 1 g/h seems safe for the preterm neonate on the short term.

Keywords: Neonatal magnesemia; Neuroprotection; Preeclampsia; Preterm birth.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Eclampsia* / drug therapy
  • Eclampsia* / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnesium
  • Magnesium Sulfate / adverse effects
  • Neuroprotection
  • Pre-Eclampsia* / drug therapy
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature Birth*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Magnesium Sulfate
  • Magnesium