Conditions Associated with Hypoglycemia in the Newborn
Many different conditions are associated with hypoglycemia in the newborn, including:
- Poor nutrition of the mother during pregnancy
- Inadequate feeding intake
- Blood types of the mother and baby are not compatible
- Birth defects, endocrine disorders and metabolic diseases present at birth
- Poor intake of oxygen during birth (birth asphyxia)
- Exposure to the cold (cold stress)
- Liver disease
Reason for Concern
The brain depends on blood glucose as its main source of energy. The brain will not function normally if there is not enough glucose. Blood glucose that is very low may result in seizures and serious brain injury.
Signs and Symptoms of Hypoglycemia
Symptoms of hypoglycemia may not be obvious in newborns. The following are the most common symptoms of hypoglycemia. However, each baby may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
- Restlessness / jitteriness
- Pale skin coloring
- Stopping breathing (apnea)
- Poor body tone
- Poor feeding
- Sluggishness (lethargy)
The symptoms of hypoglycemia may look a lot like other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your baby's provider if you notice these changes in your child.
Diagnosis of Hypoglycemia in the Newborn
A simple blood test for blood glucose levels can diagnose hypoglycemia. Additional testing may be necessary. Generally, a baby with low blood glucose levels will need treatment.
Treatment for Hypoglycemia in the Newborn
Specific treatment for hypoglycemia will be determined by:
- Your baby's gestational age, overall health and medical history
- Associated condition
- The reason for your baby’s low blood glucose
- Your baby's tolerance for specific medications, procedures or therapies
Treatment includes giving the baby a fast-acting source of glucose by mouth or intravenously (IV). The baby's blood glucose levels should be closely monitored after treatment.
Care of Hypoglycemia in the Newborn at HomeYou will be instructed on signs and symptoms of low blood glucose in your child. You may be instructed on how to monitor your baby’s blood glucose at home. You will also be instructed when to call your provider or 911.