Magnesium injection given to would be moms during early labour lowers cerebral palsy cases by nearly 40%
All women who go into labour before 30 weeks will now be given a magnesium injection under a scheme being started by NHS England. This is a public body that comes under the Department of Health and Social Care in the United Kingdom.
This decision could save the thousands of babies from lifelong disability, both physical and mental. Magnesium sulphate, given before the 32nd week of pregnancy, reduces the risk of all types of brain damage by up to 40%. This is also very effective against the most severe form of cerebral palsy, reducing it by as much as 50%.
However, researchers are not clear why magnesium, which plays an important role in muscle and skeletal development and function, acts as a protector. They are convinced that once injected into the mother’s bloodstream, it reaches the baby’s brain through the placenta, where it blocks a flow of toxic chemicals caused by lack of oxygen.
This preventative treatment has already been used widely in Australia, Canada and parts of the United States.
10% of very premature babies develop cerebral palsy, caused by an injury or malformation while the brain is developing, before, during, or after birth. The condition leads to a range of symptoms that include stiff and weak muscles, tremors and poor co-ordination, plus hearing, sight, swallowing and speech problems.
The magnesium sulphate treatment is designed for only early labour occurrences.