NHS using this medicine to prevent premature babies from developing cerebral palsy

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A pregnant woman, in the last trimester of her pregnancy, poses in this illustration photo Reuters

Embracing motherhood is one of the most precious feelings that every woman wants to experience. But there are several concerns related to the childbirth and no one wants to face such issues. So in UK, women who are expecting to hold their children soon, will be given a one-pound pill that can help prevent premature babies from developing cerebral palsy.

These magnesium-sulfate pills, which can reduce the chances of premature babies from getting cerebral palsy by 30 percent, will be offered across National Health Service centres.

The drug may prevent around 300 babies developing the condition per year. The risk of developing cerebral palsy in newborn babies at less than 28 weeks is one in 10, while the risk decreases to 1 in 1000 for those born at full term.

The drug will be given to women who are about to go into labour if they are under 30 weeks of pregnancy. This medicine acts as a "helmet" around the baby's brain and stabilises their cells to be stronger against the adverse effects of premature birth, the NHS said.

Cerebral palsy is the general term for a number of neurological conditions caused by problems in the brain and nervous system that affect movement and coordination. It can occur if the brain develops abnormally or is damaged before, during or shortly after birth.

Magnesium sulphate's ability to reduce the risk of cerebral palsy in premature babies has already been proven in scientific research for a number of years.

"You give it to the mother and the medicine crosses the placenta into the baby and gets to the babies brain, within the brain it seems to stabilise cells," The Telegraph quoted Dr Pat O'Brien, a consultant obstetrician and spokesman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), as saying.

"The wall of the cell seems to be a bit more stable and strong, which means it's more able to withstand the trials and tribulations of being born prematurely.

"It's all about damage to the brain, we know that immature brains are more vulnerable to changes around the time of birth, of oxygen levels, or infection. It seems that those things often damage babies brains when they're born prematurely," O'Brien further added.

Every year across the UK, over 8,500 women give birth early due to complications with their pregnancy. Magnesium stabilises the brain cells and makes the pre-term babies more robust in their defence.

It should be mentioned that the ideal time to carry out the treatment is within 24 hours of the expected premature birth, however, even when given immediately before birth (between zero and four hours) the drug will still be beneficial.

The NHS aims to cover at least 85 per cent of all mothers to be and providing magnesium sulphate across all maternity units.