In December 2019 researchers from Australia, Canada and New Zealand published their review of the medical scientific literature to assess whether ante-natal magnesium sulphate supplementation is associated with unintended adverse neonatal outcomes. A total of 197 studies of mixed quality were included in the review. Eleven studies compared magnesium sulphate and placebo/no treatment and only one study, which had a moderate to high risk of bias, showed an increased risk of perinatal death. In the remaining studies there was no clear difference of outcome of perinatal death. Overall, there were no clear adverse neonatal outcomes observed in the studies. It was noted that there were limitations in many studies, which were mainly considered to have a moderate to high risk of bias. Sample sizes were frequently noted to be small (200 babies or fewer) and there were also limitations with respect to missing data for important outcomes across most studies. The researchers concluded that their findings did not support a clear association between antenatal magnesium sulphate supplementation and beneficial and adverse neonatal outcomes. Further research assessing specific outcomes and safety recommendations are required.
Shepherd E et al. Antenatal magnesium sulphate and adverse neonatal outcomes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS Med. 2019 Dec 6;16(12):e1002988.