Magnesium sulfate is currently used as a neonatal neuroprotectant for deliveries at less than 30 weeks gestation. Researchers recently started collecting data for a trial covering gestational ages 30 to 34 weeks. The purpose of the study is to find out if the neuroprotective effects stretch beyond the 30th-week gestation.

Researchers are looking for women to sign informed consent forms prior to labor. The women will need to be pregnant with singlets or twins and have no known issues with magnesium sulfate. After signing an informed consent, women will be given either 50 ml of magnesium sulfate in a 100 ml bag dripped over 30 minutes or a placebo delivered in the same manner. Researchers will follow offspring for up to two years – corrected age – to determine the rate of death, cerebral palsy and other complications.

Doctors must predetermine labor will begin within the next 24 hours before women are approached with the informed consent.

Source: Crowther CA, Middleton PF, Wilkinson D, Ashwood P, Haslam R. Magnesium sulfate at 30 to 34 weeks' gestational age: neuroprotection trial (MAGENTA) - study protocol. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2013 Apr 9;13(1):91.