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Approximately two out of 1,000 newborn babies have low blood sugar. During pregnancy, glucose is passed to the baby from the mother through the placenta. Some of the glucose is stored as glycogen in the placenta, and later in the baby's liver, heart and muscles. These stores of sugar are important for supplying the baby's brain with energy during delivery and for nutrition after the baby is born.
Babies who are more likely to develop hypoglycemia include:
Hypoglycemia may be caused by conditions that:
Many different conditions are associated with hypoglycemia in the newborn, including:
Symptoms of hypoglycemia may not be obvious in newborns. Each baby may experience symptoms differently. The most common symptoms include:
The symptoms of hypoglycemia may look like other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your baby's physician if you notice these changes in your child.
Specific treatment for hypoglycemia will be determined by your baby's physician based on:
Treatment includes giving the baby a rapid-acting source of glucose. This may be as simple as giving a glucose / water mixture or formula as an early feeding. Or, the baby may need glucose given intravenously (IV). The baby's blood glucose levels are closely monitored after treatment to see if the hypoglycemia occurs again. Remember that you must not give a baby sugar water or anything by mouth if they are experiencing a seizure or are unresponsive in any way. Call 911 if this happens.
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