In 2017, a child was born every eight seconds.
Every mother knows the worry of prenatal upkeep, of ensuring both mother and infant are well-cared for during the nine months the child is in the womb. What they may not expect is to become hypoglycemic.
Unfortunately, it’s a common problem in pregnancies, especially if the mother is diabetic.
Here, we’ll discuss the potential effects of hypoglycemia in pregnancies and ways the consequences can be alleviated.
What Is Hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia occurs when an individual’s blood glucose level is abnormally low. Because sugar is the brain’s fuel power, when there isn’t enough glucose to feed the brain, it can’t function properly.
There are several symptoms associated with hypoglycemia, but effects vary:
- Extreme irritation
Other symptoms range from sudden hunger to irregular heartbeats.
Hypoglycemia in Pregnancy
Blood sugar naturally runs at decreased levels during pregnancy. When hypoglycemia is added into the mix, it can result in devastatingly low glucose levels.
Furthermore, past diabetics may be unable to identify the symptoms of low blood sugar, which poses a great hazard to their health.
Women experiencing hypoglycemic states during pregnancy are at a higher risk of losing consciousness, falling into comas or hurting themselves, all of which could potentially harm a growing fetus.
Apart from the increased likelihood of accidents, severe hypoglycemia can also affect the fetus. Studies show a correlation with hypoglycemia and slow growth rates. In cases where the mother is diabetic, the child may also be diagnosed with hypoglycemia or diabetes. In rare cases where the child is born with hypoglycemia or diabetes, it can result in learning disabilities, visual impairments and motor skill deficiencies.
Continual testing of glucose levels is necessary to maintain a healthy rate of sugar in the blood. Women should continue testing even after birth, as insulin levels decrease directly after a child is born and during breastfeeding.
For infants susceptible to being born with severe cases of hypoglycemia, physicians will immediately test the child’s blood sugar to determine a course of action.
Tips for Mothers
There are many ways to prevent issues associated with hypoglycemia during pregnancy.
- If you begin to notice symptoms, sit down somewhere safe and contact someone to help.
- If you are not diabetic but are hypoglycemic, consider keeping glucose tablets, juice, soda, sugar or raisins nearby. In the event of a hypoglycemic attack, these can be consumed to naturally raise your blood sugar.
- Eat three to four small meals per day as well as two to three snacks. Try to keep the timing consistent.
- Avoid foods high in carbohydrates.
- If you have not been diagnosed but suspect you are hypoglycemic, contact your physician.
According to John F. Cordisco, attorney and founder of Cordisco & Saile LLC, “Diagnosing hypoglycemia is crucial in ensuring both the mother and child are cared for during and after a pregnancy.”
With the right preventative measures, knowledge and a sprinkling of sugar, hypoglycemia can be easily controlled.