What is low blood sugar during pregnancy?
Can a low blood sugar or hypoglycaemia affect my pregnancy? How do I know if I have dropped blood sugar levels?
What should I do when I experience low blood sugar?
These are some of the issues that will come to mind if you find that you have low blood sugar or hypoglycemia.
While diabetes and high blood sugar levels are always discussed, low blood sugar levels or hypoglycaemia are known as many people are not aware of. Low blood sugar during pregnancy is common than you think and may happen to someone. Proper awareness of this subject is crucial to the health of both mother and child.
Let's look at details of low blood sugar or hypoglycaemia, its symptoms, causes and remedies.
What is low blood sugar or hypoglycaemia during pregnancy?
Our body requires energy to work. The food we eat is converted into glucose, which is a type of sugar. This glucose that enters the bloodstream is converted to the energy of a hormone called insulin. The cells in our body use this energy to function.
Sometimes there is enough sugar in the blood to be treated by the insulin hormone present in the body. When there is a lack of blood sugar, insulin can not turn it into energy. Now that our cells do not get enough energy to work properly, it can lead to complications. This condition where the blood glucose level is lower than normal for the body to function properly is called hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.
Normal blood glucose interval at fasting is between 70-100 mg / dl for pregnant women. So a blood sugar level below 70 mg / dl is considered low blood sugar during pregnancy.
How common is hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycaemia is more common in pregnant women and should therefore not be ignored. At any time, a pregnant woman may experience low blood sugar, which must be treated immediately.
What causes hypoglycaemia during pregnancy?
Hypoglycaemia occurs when there is insufficient food to balance the insulin's blood glucose lowering effect and have too much of the hormone insulin in the blood.
Hypoglycaemia may occur in pregnant women who previously have type 1 or type 2 diabetes or in women who have pregnancy diabetes, usually diagnosed during the second trimester of pregnancy. It rarely occurs in pregnant women without diabetes
If you are diabetic: A low blood sugar condition may occur during pregnancy, especially if you have developed pregnancy diabetes or already have diabetes before pregnancy.
Now you can ask how diabetes, that is, high sugar levels can be a cause of low blood sugar problems !!
The medications you use to control pregnancy diabetes are the ones who are here. If you take medicines like Insulin or a type of diabetic player like Glyburide, the production of insulin in the body increases. More insulin hormone means more consumption of blood sugar that can lead to the exhaustion of sugar in our bloodstream that causes hypoglycaemia.
This is a reason why those with gestational diabetics are more likely to get hypoglycemia.
Must read: 16 Frequently asked questions about gestational diabetes
Non-diabetic hypoglycaemia: All pregnant women may experience low blood sugar levels during pregnancy regardless of whether they have been diagnosed with pregnancy diabetes or not.
You may also get low blood sugar during pregnancy –
- If you delay or skip a meal
- Eat too little
- Exercise more than usual
- Drink alcohol on an empty stomach (drink not recommended during pregnancy and lactation)
- Excessive insulin in the body due to certain medication
- Do not eat enough carbohydrates
- Critical disease such as severe hepatitis.
Can any condition increase the risk of hypoglycaemia during pregnancy?
Some conditions may increase your chances of getting hypoglycaemia during pregnancy. Below are some of the terms-
- You are on diabetes medication
- You are an alcoholic
- You have some hormone deficiencies
What are the symptoms of low blood sugar?
However, low blood sugar occurs suddenly; Intensity may vary in different women and may also vary by age. You should feel signs of low blood sugar so you can take preventive measures. Symptoms of hypoglycaemia include:
- cold sweat
- Difficulty Attention
- Feeling hungry always
- Sudden mood
- Feeling anxious or nervous or crying for no reason
- Tipping feeling around the lip and tongue
- Bleach skin color
- Quick heartbeat
- Clumsy or jerky movements
It can also occur during sleep. The following are the symptoms of having low blood sugar at night
- Having nightmares
- Damp the clothes and the sheet from perspiration
- Feeling tired or irritating after awakening
- Seizure or difficulty waking from sleep
Remember, if you ignore the symptoms of hypoglycaemia for a long time, you may lose consciousness because your brain needs glucose to work properly. You should be aware of signs of hypoglycaemia because untreated hypoglycaemia can lead to many health complications.
How can hypoglycaemia affect the growing fetus?
Low blood sugar or hypoglycaemia may result in developmental problems, abnormalities and lower birth weight in children.
In order to avoid developmental problems in infants it is important that mothers are aware of the risks of low blood sugar and to maintain adequate levels of sugar during pregnancy.
Can low blood sugar during pregnancy affect the health of the mother?
Hypoglycaemia is a common problem during early pregnancy, especially at night. However, the symptoms can not be displayed or mostly ignored at 50 to 60 mg / dL blood sugar levels. Hypoglycaemia ignored at this stage may be worse and come to lower values such as 30 to 40 mg / dL. With such lower values, the pregnant woman may experience seizures or even coma.
Also, if left untreated, the safety of mother and fetus is at risk.
How to diagnose low blood sugar during pregnancy?
If you are diabetic, your doctor will ask you to check blood glucose levels often and also look up for hypoglycemia symptoms. Your doctor will keep track of your health history and make the necessary tests to find out if you have hypoglycaemia.
If you are not diabetic and experiencing symptoms of hypoglycaemia, your doctor may measure your blood sugar levels while experiencing the symptoms and check if symptoms are relieved when you eat high sugar foods.
Lab tests can also be done to evaluate the amount of insulin production in your body.
The important thing is to be aware of the symptoms of low blood sugar levels and discuss with your doctor if you experience them. Please do not ignore any symptoms if you feel they are not normal pregnancy symptoms. Always be proactive when talking with your doctor, discuss with her all your worries. Click here to know about 21 pregnancy warning signs that you should not ignore.
Read also: Glucose test during pregnancy
What must be done when blood sugar is low?
When you have symptoms of hypoglycaemia, you consume high or high levels of sugar or sugar.
It is better to have fruit juice, as it increases blood sugar levels faster than solid foods.
A hard candy, orange juice or apple juice, a tablespoon of honey or sugar, glucose tablets, two tablespoons of raisins are part of the food that can be taken when you have low blood sugar.
After having taken the sweet food it is generally recommended to follow up with a small high protein or high carbohydrate snack such as cheese and biscuits, a slice of toast with a spread or biscuit with a glass of milk.
In severe hypoglycaemia you may be prescribed to use a glucagon kit.
If you have diabetic, talk to your doctor about what sweet food and in what amount is safe for you while you have hypoglycemia symptoms.
What precautions should you take if you have hypoglycaemia?
Because pregnancy causes changes in the body's energy needs, blood sugar levels can also change frequently. Monitor your blood sugar levels from time to time as described by your doctor. You should always be prepared because the blood sugar may be low during pregnancy. So during pregnancy, keep in mind the points listed below –
- It is advisable to always carry snacks with you when you are in motion.
- Eat all your meals and snacks in time.
- If you do some extra activity, eat some extra food.
- Also, eat often, small snacks between meals as in the middle of the morning and snacks.
- If you have pregnancy diabetics talk to your doctor about your diet plan and follow it strictly
- If you are diabetic, take all diabetic medicines prescribed by your doctor on time
- No alcohol during pregnancy
- Correct exercise according to your doctor's recommendations
- Do not drive if you have low blood sugar
This may interest you: Is exercise during pregnancy safe?
Low blood sugar treatment
Hypoglycaemia is related to nutrition balance and in most cases it is treated with the right diet. Eating the right food together with the right medicine is important.
For frequent or severe hypoglycaemia, appropriate medical care is required.
A pregnant woman should plan her activities well to keep her blood sugar at safer levels. Some lifestyle changes can be made to cope with low blood sugar levels. You can get a word with your doctor who will advise you to make certain changes in your diet according to your activities and medicines you take.
You may like to read: Pregnancy Diet – The Complete Guide
What is hypoglycaemia in newborns? How to treat
Children may also develop hypoglycaemia shortly after birth.
During the first few hours after birth, the newborn blood sugar may be low as the child is divorced from the glucose delivery that the child received from the placenta. But few newborns whose mothers had diabetes during pregnancy can not cope with low blood sugar. And so, hypoglycaemia may occur in newborns, which in most cases can be treated quickly.
A blood sample will be made to find out the newborn's sugar levels. Frequent feeding should be given to newborns if the child is hypoglycemic. Breastfeeding as soon as possible after delivery is the best way to treat hypoglycaemia in newborns. Take your pediatrician's help for further care and treatment of your newborn.
It is very important to know about low blood sugar levels that may happen during pregnancy to take care of yourself as well as others who suffer from low blood sugar.
Feel the symptoms to stop hypoglycaemia from getting worse by treating it at the right time.
Keep the right diet and exercise to prevent hypoglycaemia. If you are diabetic you understand that your chances of getting hypoglycaemia are high and so always carry sweet snacks or your doctor prescribed glucagon kit with you.
Low blood sugar during pregnancy is nothing to worry about if treated properly.
Hope you find this article useful. Please share your comments.
What other solutions are there to cope with low blood sugar during pregnancy? What other foods can be taken to handle low blood sugar?