Magnesium (Mg) is an essential mineral in the body, impacting the synthesis of biomacromolecules, bone matrix development, energy production, as well as heart, nerve, and muscle function. Although the importance of Mg is evident, reference values for serum Mg (sMg) in pediatric patients (more specifically, in neonates) are not well established. This systematic literature review and meta-analysis (using 47 eligible studies) aims to quantify normal and tolerable ranges of sMg concentrations during the neonatal period and to highlight the factors influencing Mg levels and the importance of regulating sMg levels during pregnancy and birth. In newborns without Mg supplementation during pregnancy, magnesium levels at birth (0.76 (95% CI: 0.52, 0.99) mmol/L) were similar to that of mothers during pregnancy (0.74 (95% CI: 0.43, 1.04) mmol/L), but increased during the first week of life (0.91 (95% CI: 0.55, 1.26) mmol/L) before returning to adult levels. This pattern was also seen in newborns with Mg supplementation during pregnancy, where the average was 1.29 (95% CI: 0.50, 2.08) mmol/L at birth and 1.44 (95% CI: 0.61, 2.27) mmol/L during the first week of life. Factors influencing these levels include prenatal Mg supplementation, gestational age, birth weight, renal maturity/function, and postnatal Mg intake. Elevated Mg levels (>2.5 mmol/L) have been associated with an increased risk of mortality, admission into intensive care, hypotonia, hypotension, and respiratory depression but sMg concentrations up to 2.0 mmol/L appear to be well tolerated in neonates, requiring adequate survey and minimal intervention.
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