Hypoglycemia in the Newborn: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment


What is hypoglycemia in the newborn?

Hypoglycemia is a condition in which the amount of blood glucose (sugar) in the blood is lower than regular (under 50 mg/dL).

Who is affected by hypoglycemia in the newborn?

Babies who are most likely to establish hypoglycemia include:

  • Babies born to diabetic mothers may develop hypoglycemia after delivery when the source of glucose (by means of the umbilical cord) is gone and the baby’s insulin production metabolizes the existing glucose.
  • Little for gestational age or growth-restricted babies may have too few glycogen stores.
  • Premature babies, specifically those with low birthweights, who frequently have actually limited glycogen shops (sugar kept in the liver) or an immature liver function.
  • Babies born under considerable stress.
  • Babies who experience temperature level instability (for example, get cold) or when mothers were alleviated with specific drugs (for example, terbutaline).
  • Babies of diabetic moms.
  • Babies who are big for their gestational age. This is associated with gestational diabetes, however likewise with types of hereditary hyperinsulinism.

What causes hypoglycemia in the newborn?

Hypoglycemia might be brought on by conditions that:

  • Lower the quantity of glucose in the bloodstream.
  • Avoid or lessen storage of glucose.
  • Consume glycogen shops (sugar stored in the liver).
  • Inhibit making use of glucose by the body.

Various conditions might be associated with hypoglycemia in the newborn, including the following:

  • Insufficient maternal nutrition in pregnancy.
  • Excess insulin produced in a baby of a diabetic mom.
  • Severe hemolytic disease of the newborn (incompatibility of blood types of mom and baby).
  • Birth defects and genetic metabolic illness.
  • Birth asphyxia.
  • Cold stress (conditions that are too cold).
  • Liver disease.
  • Infection.

Why is hypoglycemia in the newborn a concern?

The brain depends on blood glucose as its primary source of fuel. Too little glucose can hinder the brain’s ability to operate. Severe or prolonged hypoglycemia might lead to seizures and severe brain injury.

What are the symptoms of hypoglycemia in the newborn?

Symptoms of hypoglycemia may not be evident in newborn babies. The following are the most typical symptoms of hypoglycemia. Nevertheless, each baby may experience symptoms in a different way. Symptoms might include:

  • Jitteriness.
  • Cyanosis (blue coloring).
  • Apnea (stopping breathing).
  • Hypothermia (low body temperature).
  • Poor body tone.
  • Poor feeding.
  • Sleepiness.
  • Seizures.

The symptoms of hypoglycemia may look like other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your baby’s doctor for a diagnosis.

How is hypoglycemia in the newborn diagnosed?

A basic blood test for blood glucose levels can identify hypoglycemia. Typically, a baby with low blood sugar levels will need treatment.

What is the treatment for hypoglycemia in the newborn?

Particular treatment for hypoglycemia will be determined by your baby’s doctor based upon:

  • Your baby’s gestational age, general health, and medical history.
  • Degree of the disease.
  • Your baby’s tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or treatments.
  • Expectations for the course of the disease.
  • Your opinion or choice.

Treatment includes providing the baby a rapid-acting source of glucose. This might be as simple as providing a glucose and water mixture or formula as an early feeding. Or, the baby might need glucose offered intravenously. The baby’s blood sugar levels are carefully kept an eye on after treatment to see if the hypoglycemia occurs again.

Can hypoglycemia in the newborn be prevented?

There may not be any method to prevent hypoglycemia, just to watch thoroughly for the symptoms and treat as quickly as possible. Moms with diabetes can help decrease the quantity of glucose that stresses the fetus by firmly controlling their blood sugar levels to preserve them in a typical range.


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