Magnesium sulfate has been shown in vivo and in vitro to decrease the frequency of uterine contractions while maintaining the amplitude; we therefore decided to assess the use of magnesium sulfate infusion in cases of uterine hyperstimulation. The medical records were reviewed retrospectively for 37 term pregnant patients diagnosed as having uterine hyperstimulation during labor. None of them had medical or obstetric complications. Twenty-two of them received oxytocin augmentation for abnormal labor. Although the vast majority of these patients had a decrease of the hyperstimulation while being given the magnesium, 31.8% ultimately underwent cesarean, as compared with 13.7% in the group receiving oxytocin alone (P<.05). Fifteen additional patients received magnesium sulfate for uterine hyperstimulation although they were not receiving oxytocin; of these, 16.7% required cesarean delivery. This rate was no different from that of the patients who required labor augmentation, but was double the overall primary cesarean rate at our hospital. There appears to be a group of patients with abnormal uterine activity (either spontaneous or associated with oxytocin augmentation) that responds to treatment with magnesium sulfate.
(C) 1990 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists