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Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar) In Pregnancy

4 min read

Hypoglycemia is that state when you have a low level of blood sugar. When you eat food, it gets broken down and does sugar, i.e., glucose, which enters your cells to give you the energy for keeping your body active. With hypoglycemia, there will be some mild complications. The complications depend on the hypoglycemia. Severe hypoglycemia can bring about fainting or take you to the state of a coma. Therefore, if this happens during your pregnancy, then you should take measures as early as possible to avert any complications.


What Is Hypoglycemia In Pregnancy?

Hypoglycemia happens during pregnancy when the blood sugar goes down below 700mgm/ml. During the pregnancy period, the normal blood sugar ranges from 700mgm/ml to 1000mgm/ml.

What  Are The Types Of Hypoglycemia During Pregnancy?

Regardless of the type of hypoglycemia you contracted, any of the warning signs of hypoglycemia during pregnancy should be taken to the attention of your doctor. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment are very important. Generally, you will get two symptoms for hypoglycemia during pregnancy which are:

1. Reactive Hypoglycemia:

If you have reactive hypoglycemia, then your blood sugar level will decrease within a couple of hours following your meal. Usually, this happens more in people who are suffering from diabetes. However, it can also happen to those who don’t have diabetes.

2. Fasting Hypoglycemia:

If you have fasting hypoglycemia, then your blood sugar level could fall to an alarming level in between the time of your meals. Usually, this type of hypoglycemia is more often found in people who don’t have diabetes.

Who Is More Prone To Hypoglycemia During Pregnancy?

  • An expecting mother who is heading towards the closing stages of the first trimester. That is, those who are going through 8 to 16th week of pregnancy
  • If a pregnant woman falls sick frequently, then it can cause hypoglycemia.
  • A pregnant woman experiencing gestational diabetes who take insulin shots
  • Expecting mothers with terrible morning sickness
  • A pregnant woman with a record of low blood sugar.

What Causes Low Blood Sugar In Pregnancy?

  • Morning Sickness Or Nausea: If you are having morning sickness during pregnancy, expecting mothers tend to decline more foods, thereby ending up in significantly low intake of food. This can lead to hypoglycemia.
  • Lifestyle: Your lifestyle could cause hypoglycemia. For example, if you exercise too much, then it can cause the breaking down of glucose at an alarming level, which can cause a low blood sugar level.
  • Diabetes: If you have diabetes then that could be a reason for hypoglycemia as it happens more to diabetic
  • Gestational Diabetes: This can happen because of hormonal changes, opposition to insulin, and stress during pregnancy. Irrespective of the triggering factor, the blood sugar level will go down, causing hypoglycemia if you have gestational diabetes.
  • Medical Conditions: There are some medical conditions that can cause hypoglycemia. In such cases, taking evasive actions and obtaining the right treatment is important.
  • Medication: The medications you take for your diabetes could bring down your blood sugar level significantly, thereby triggering hypoglycemia. This usually happens when the expecting mother fails to have an adequate intake of food or has a wrong dose (high) of the diabetic drug.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar During Pregnancy?

Low blood sugar will project itself with different symptoms. Some of these symptoms will include:

  • Problems with clarity in thought
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Blurry and unclear vision
  • Mood fluctuation and anxiety
  • Your body may sweat often and shake uncontrollably
  • Some symptoms related to sleep. If hypoglycemia kicks in during sleep, it can bring about:
  • Nightmares
  • Feeling tiredness extremely after waking
  • Cold night sweats
  • Tiredness, fatigue, and weakness throughout the day
  • In extreme cases, seizures and blackout can happen

How To Diagnose Low Blood Sugar In Pregnant Women?

The tests to evaluate blood sugar levels are usually done once you enter your second trimester. However, if there are warning signs of low blood sugar, then you would have to undergo more tests during the first trimester itself. Also, if you don’t have diabetes (in spite of the low blood sugar readings), then your doctor will make you undergo different blood tests to figure out the reason for hypoglycemia. Moreover, you have to provide the details of your diet, exercise, medical history, and lifestyle to your doctor.

What Are The Effects Of Hypoglycemia On Pregnancy?

Hypoglycemia can affect both the baby and the mother during the pregnancy period:

  • Mother: If you have severe hypoglycemia, then you might have to be hospitalized. Gestational diabetes could cause complications during labor pain, which might cause injuries at the time of birth.
  • Baby: Hypoglycemia could hamper the fetal development and cause mental and physical abnormalities to the baby. Expecting mother with gestational diabetes have more odds of delivering a baby with jaundice. If the mother has hypoglycemia, then the baby could have a low level of blood sugar.

Treatment For Reducing The Severity Of Hypoglycemia During Pregnancy

  • In case of severe hypoglycemia, the patient will have to eat foods that are high in calories. Also, glucose tablets might aid in this cause. You have to eat at least 15 grams of carbs, which will normalize the blood sugar level within 15 minutes.
  • If the patient is unable to eat or drink, then consult with the doctor as soon as possible.
  • At the time of the labor or delivery, constant monitoring of the blood sugar is required.
  • If a tumor is causing the hormonal changes for which the pregnant woman is suffering from hypoglycemia, then that tumor has to be removed before the delivery.

What Are The Safety Measures To Take While Suffering From Hypoglycemia During Pregnancy?

  • Keep a glucometer and check the level of your blood sugar from time to time
  • Keep a high-calorie snack close to you in most of the time
  • Eat-in small meals
  • You have to eat more food on the day you exercise more
  • You have to abstain from alcohol
  • You have to abstain from carbonated drinks

Hypoglycemia during pregnancy could happen due to various reasons. If it happens, then you have to consult your doctor as soon as possible. Delaying the diagnosis and treatment could lead to severe complications.

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