Hypoglycemia in Newborns – Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment

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Hypoglycemia in newborns – Causes, Symptoms And Treatments
Hypoglycemia in newborns – Causes, Symptoms And Treatments
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Simranjit Kaur

Simranjit Kaur

Mother of one, Master of Education with specialization in child-psychology. After becoming mother, I met with real me. I am now learning new concepts of parenting every fresh day and sharing my experiences with other mothers. I believe, one of the most important things that you, as a parent, should work on is - your child's psychology. Understanding the child-psychology will help you build stronger bonds and know them better.

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Hypoglycemia in newborns is a condition caused by a very low level of blood sugar (glucose). Premature babies, maternal diabetes, and perinatal asphyxia are some of the risk factors.

What is the correct level of sugar in the blood, in case of a newborn baby?
  1. If the baby is born prematurely and its weight is also less than the prescribed, then the level of sugar in its blood should not be less than 30 mg/dl.
  2. If the baby is born at the scheduled time and the weight is also good, then the level of sugar in its blood should not be less than 40 mg/dl.

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Blood sugar occurs when the body’s demand for glucose (simple sugar) is higher than the supply. Infants get glucose from lactose (milk sugar). Some children have a greater difficulty in maintaining an adequate level of sugar in the blood. Prolonged periods of lack of blood sugar may affect the central nervous system.

Symptoms of Hypoglycemia in Newborns
  1. Tachycardia – when the heart beat more than 90 strokes per minute or more.
  2. Pale – The skin becomes yellowish.
  3. Hypothermia – This is the state of the body in which the temperature is lower than normal.
  4. Lethargy and Muscle Weakness – Due to hypoglycemia, symptoms like heavy fatigue, lethargy, headache are seen in the body.
  5. Irritability – Indications of irritability, anger, and anger are also visible in infants.
    Feeding Difficulties – Signs of not feeling hungry in the affected child with hypoglycemia can also be seen.
  6. Tachypnea – You will notice rapid, shallow breathingi.e., when the infant breathes more than usual in one minute.
  7. Episodes of Apnea – Lungs do not have enough oxygen in your blood.
  8. Screaming or Shouting – Because of hypoglycemia, when the child lacks energy in the body, screaming is the only way he knows to express his inconvenience.
  9. Chapped Lips – Due to hypoglycemia baby’s lips get chapped. Sometimes lips and tongue become numb.
  10. Seizures – There could be signs like seizures, as well.

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Causes of Hypoglycemia in Newborn
  1. Diabetes mellitus in mother.
  2. Hypoxia or asphyxia at birth.
  3. Intrauterine growth retardation.
  4. Low birth weight.
  5. Accelerated metabolism.
  6. Low capacity of gluconeogenesis.
  7. Excess insulin.
  8. Disorders of hormonal secretions, etc.

The symptoms overlap with signs of sepsis or other illnesses. Therefore, it is advisable to screen babies at risk for hypoglycemia.

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A blood test is the only way to find out the exact level of sugar in baby’s blood. Blood is taken by through a heel prick test and is sent either to the hospital or any external laboratory for testing.

Hypoglycemia in newborns – Causes, Symptoms And Treatments
Hypoglycemia in newborns – Causes, Symptoms And Treatments

A blood test is the only way to find out exactly what is the level of sugar in your baby’s blood. The usual way of testing is to take blood through a heel prick test and analyze it.

Treatment of Hypoglycemia in Newborns

Newborns with this disorder need to receive breast milk in the first hours after birth. It is important that this happens whether it sucks alone to the mother’s breast or is given through a special nursing supplement system.

If the newborn is unable to eat alone, and the blood sugar level is very low, then doctors will use intravenous glucose to re-balance glycemic levels.

When these measures fail, doctors call for medication. Drugs are prescribed to increase blood glucose levels or to reduce insulin levels (which in such cases is very high).

Newborns respond very well to treatment for hypoglycemia and only in very rare cases surgery is needed to remove a portion of the pancreas.

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However, the glycemic level is monitored in these children every 2 hours in the first 6 hours after birth, and then at 12, 24 and 48 hours.

Therefore, do not delay the treatment of hypoglycemia if you see signs because your small negligence can affect your baby’s brain. At the same time, he may have to face many types of mental problems.

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Simranjit Kaur
Mother of one, Master of Education with specialization in child-psychology. After becoming mother, I met with real me. I am now learning new concepts of parenting every fresh day and sharing my experiences with other mothers. I believe, one of the most important things that you, as a parent, should work on is - your child's psychology. Understanding the child-psychology will help you build stronger bonds and know them better.