Magnesium Sulfate

Definition: This is used to decrease preeclampsia by relaxing smooth muscle. Magnesium sulfate is also used to slow contractions during preterm labor.

Side Effects: GI upset, headache, respiratory depression, sweating, hypotension, and decreased reflexes.

Nursing Care: Magnesium sulfate is administered through IV infusion. Frequent checks of vital signs and close monitoring of the fetus are important during administration. Monitor for complications such as cardiac arrest and respiratory depression that can occur with magnesium toxicity. Monitor urine output, and report if less than 30 mL of urine during an hour. Assess deep tendon reflexes.

Oxytocin (Pitocin)

Definition: Oxytocin (Pitocin) is used to stimulate labor and increase uterine contractions. It is used for postpartum hemorrhage.

Side Effects: Hemorrhage, water intoxication, hypotension, rapid labor, and cardiac arrhythmias.

Nursing Care: Oxytocin is administered through IV infusion. Monitor maternal vital signs, uterine contractions, and fetal heart tones during administration. Document and assess IV rate as prescribed. Monitor for complications, and report symptoms to the primary care provider.

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