The relationship between maternal serum magnesium levels and tocolytic success is poorly established. We performed a retrospective analysis of 101 episodes of preterm labor treated with magnesium sulfate and compared the initial, average, and maximum serum magnesium levels with tocolytic success at 48 hours and 7 days. There was no difference in the proportions of tocolytic success when serum levels were <6 mg/dl compared with levels of ≥6 mg/dl. Similar analyses on either side of 5 mg/dl also revealed no significant relationship. Mean serum magnesium levels in patients with successful tocolysis were statistically similar to those of patients in whom tocolysis failed. Multiple logistic regression analysis also failed to establish a positive relationship between serum magnesium levels and tocolytic success. We conclude that serum magnesium levels alone should not serve as an end point of therapy. © 1990.