Introduction: Preterm infants are at a greater risk of short term and long term complications including disabilities and impediments in growth and mental development. Hence, to predict and prevent the occurrence of preterm labour and delivery would go a long way to reduce the morbidity and mortality resulting from it. Preterm labour followed by preterm delivery is a major issue in India. Besides various etiologies, preterm labour may be due to a biochemical alteration, such as magnesium. Many recent findings have augmented the significance of magnesium in human health and disease. There is a mounting evidence that alterations in magnesium metabolism have a negative impact on pregnancy outcome. The aim of our investigation was to study the serum magnesium levels in preterm labour and to compare these values with those patients who had a term delivery, to find associated signs and symptoms and to suggest nutritional correction of prognostic value.
Methods: A case-control study was carried out to evaluate serum magnesium levels and associated symptoms in women with preterm labour (28-36 weeks) and compare them with patients in same gestational age who delivered at term (37-40 weeks).
Results: Patients in preterm labour have a significantly depressed serum magnesium level [mean, 1.343±0.09 meq/lvs 1.875±0.013 meq/l] (p<0.001) as compared to normal pregnancy. Preterm labour cases differed from controls in terms of significantly higher incidence of muscle cramps and change in the quality or quantity of vaginal discharge (p<0.001). In our study, fall in the value of serum magnesium levels was of a significant magnitude in preterm labour as compared to normal controls (p<0.001). Percentage of patients with preterm labour belonging to low socio-economic class was significantly higher than the upper and middle socio-economic classes (p<0.05).
Conclusion: Estimation of serum magnesium levels may be a useful parameter in pregnancy. Magnesium supplementation should be considered in pregnancy especially in high risk groups.