Preventing Hypoglycemia When Pregnant
Preventing hypoglycemia is important for your health. But there’s good news: Even if you do experience hypoglycemia during your pregnancy, your baby will be fine. “No evidence suggests hypoglycemia affects the baby,” Elizabeth Halprin, MD, clinical director of adult diabetes at Harvard’s Joslin Diabetes Center, tells LIVESTRONG.com.
The best way to prevent low blood sugar is to keep your blood sugar levels stable throughout the day. According to the Joslin Diabetes Center’s Guideline for Detection and Management of Diabetes In Pregnancy, pregnant women with diabetes should eat small, frequent meals throughout the day, typically three meals and two to four snacks. Eating small, well-balanced meals provides a steady release of glucose throughout the day.
Read more:How to Build a Healthy Breakfast if You Have Gestational Diabetes
Never skip a meal: Taking blood sugar-lowering medications without consuming enough food can result in low blood sugar.
Make sure you monitor your blood sugar during and after exercise, too. Physical activity is especially important for pregnant women with diabetes: Exercise helps the body use insulin more efficiently, which lowers blood sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic. But too much exercise without proper food intake can also result in hypoglycemia.
Talk to Your Doctor
What Are The Signs And Symptoms
Low blood sugar levels can cause many different symptoms. For starters, most women report feeling lightheaded, dizzy or even disorientated.
Some may also experience cold flashes, shakiness, and impaired gait. In some instances, unusual sweating may also occur spontaneously and for no apparent reason.
Some signs of low blood sugar can be challenging to connect to the condition as they may appear harmless or self-explanatory.
Dry lips and mouth is one such example. Women may also feel abnormal levels of thirst, even after drinking water.
Excessive hunger can also be apparent. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.
What Are Possible Complications Of Diabetes During Pregnancy
Most complications happen in women who already have diabetes before they get pregnant. Possible complications include:
Need for insulin injections more often
Very low blood glucose levels, which can be life-threatening if untreated
Ketoacidosis from high levels of blood glucose, which may also be life-threatening if untreated
Women with gestational diabetes are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes in later life. They are also more likely to have gestational diabetes with another pregnancy. If you have gestational diabetes you should get tested a few months after your baby is born and every 3 years after that.
Possible complications for the baby include:
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Treatment For Extreme Hypoglycemia
If you have a severe hypoglycemic event, in which you need help to recover, you should take glucagon. Glucagon is a prescription hormone that promotes the release of stored glucose into your bloodstream. It is available in injectable or inhaled forms. You should instruct close friends, family members and coworkers on how to administer glucagon in case you need it.
What Is Hypoglycemia In Newborns How To Treat
Babies can also develop hypoglycemia shortly after birth.
In the first few hours after birth, it may happen that the newborns blood sugar is low as the baby is separated from the supply of glucose which the baby was receiving from the placenta. However, few newborns whose mothers had diabetes during pregnancy may be unable to cope with low blood sugar. And so hypoglycemia can occur in newborns, which can be treated quickly in most cases.
A blood test will be done to find out the newborns sugar levels. Frequent feedings should be given to the newborn if the baby is hypoglycemic. Breastfeeding as soon as possible after delivery is the best way to treat hypoglycemia in newborns. Take your pediatricians help for further care and treatment of your newborn.
It is very important to know about low blood sugar condition that can happen during pregnancy so as to take care of yourself as well as others who happen to have low blood sugar.
Know the symptoms to stop hypoglycemia from worsening by treating it at the right time.
Stick to proper diet and exercise to prevent hypoglycemia. If you are diabetic understand that your chances of getting hypoglycemia is high and so always carry sugary snacks or your doctor prescribed glucagon kit with you.
Low blood sugar during pregnancy is nothing to worry about if treated properly.
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How To Reduce The Risk Of Low Sugar In Pregnancy
The best aspect is to reduce the risk of hypoglycemia rather than availing treatment for the same.
For a smooth 9 month pregnancy, you should start practising healthy habits right from the beginning. A team of personalised Diet Coach, Fitness Coach, diabetologist and other health care coaches will help you achieve a better lifestyle during and after pregnancy.
Prevention And Risk Factors
The incidence of GDM is increasing worldwide. The global prevalence of hyperglycemia during pregnancy has been estimated at 16.9% using the World Health Organization criteria . A higher proportion of women entering pregnancy at an older age and/or with obesity contribute to this increase in prevalence, along with changes in screening strategies and diagnostic criteria. There is a need for an effective and acceptable intervention that will prevent the development of GDM. Such an approach has the potential to improve maternal and child health, with significant savings to the health-care system.
Understanding the pathophysiology of GDM and its risk factors is important for the development of preventive strategies. The GDM population includes a heterogeneous group of women with different metabolic profiles when exposed to pregnancy hormones. Various presentations include:
- Hyperglycemia that likely preceded the pregnancy , elevated first trimester fasting glucose, overt diabetes in pregnancy, monogenic diabetes)
- Reduced and/or falling insulin secretory capacity
- Significant insulin resistance from early pregnancy
- A combination of factors ).
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What Are The Treatments For Hypoglycemia During Pregnancy
If you are detected with low blood sugar levels, your doctor will usually prescribe certain medications that will keep the blood sugar level steady. Also, if there is a glucagon imbalance in the body, the doctor will advise you to have synthetic glucagon. The synthetic glucagon hormone can be injected with a syringe. Glucagon leads to the release of glucose stores from the liver. This will enhance the falling sugar levels in your blood and is the best treatment for Hypoglycemia.
Doctors can easily treat Hypoglycemia with regular medications. A glucagon shot is best for treating emergency conditions of extremely low blood sugar levels, but it is not a long-lasting or permanent solution.
Here are a few quick steps to follow, if you are feeling the symptoms of Hypoglycemia:
Tips For Women With Gestational Diabetes
Women who had gestational diabetes or who develop prediabetes can also learn more about the National Diabetes Prevention Program , CDC-recognized lifestyle change programs. To find a CDC-recognized lifestyle change class near you, or join one of the online programs.
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Types Of Hypoglycemia And Pregnancy
Hypoglycemia is of two types and medical treatment is given depending on its type. There can be various reasons which lead to hypoglycemia and women experience either reactive or fasting hypoglycemia accordingly.
There are usually two types of hypoglycemia, they are as follows:
Reactive hypoglycemia: This form of hypoglycemia occurs as the blood sugar levels drop within a few hours of the meal. The case is predominant with people who are affected by sugar, but then at times may be seen in people without the diabetes condition also.
Fasting hypoglycemia: If the blood sugar levels drop dangerously between meals, then it is this case. It is common in people without previous case or present condition of diabetes.
Both these Reactive and Fasting hypoglycemia can be cured by sustainable lifestyle modifications.
Advantages Of Insoluble Type Of Fibers
Insoluble fibers are primarily located in fruits, vegetables, as well as entire grains. They are not broken down by the body as well as instead offer us with important nutrients that we might not get elsewhere.
Insoluble fibers are crucial for keeping our stomach health. They can help reduce cholesterol levels, manage blood sugar level levels, and control appetite.
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Prevalence Of Hypoglycemia Diagnosis In Pregnancy
Hypoglycemia in pregnancy is very common. Having type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes increases your risk of hypoglycemia during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes occurs in up to 10% of pregnant women in the United States. Up to 71% women with type 1 diabetes develop hypoglycemia at some time during pregnancy.
Assessment Of Awareness Of Hypoglycemia
A total of 45 women reported normal hypoglycemia awareness at inclusion, 56 reported impaired awareness, and 7 reported unawareness. During pregnancy, the women did not report any significant changes in hypoglycemia awareness . Likewise, the glycemic threshold for perception of warning symptoms did not change .
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What Is Low Blood Sugar Or Hypoglycemia During Pregnancy
Our body requires energy to function. The food we eat is converted to glucose, which is a type of sugar. This glucose that enters the bloodstream is converted into energy by a hormone called Insulin. The cells in our body use this energy to function.
Sometimes, it happens that there is not enough sugar available in the blood to be processed by the insulin hormone present in the body. When there is a scarcity of blood sugar, insulin cant convert it to energy. Now when our cells are not getting enough energy to function properly, it can lead to complications. This condition in which blood sugar level is lower than normal for the body to function properly is called hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.
Normal blood sugar range while fasting is between 70-100mg/dl for pregnant women. So a blood sugar level below 70mg/dl is considered low blood sugar during pregnancy.
How common is Hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia is more common in pregnant women and hence should not be ignored. At any time, a pregnant woman may experience low blood sugar, which has to be treated right away.
The Effect Of Diabetes On Men’s Fertility
There is also evidence that diabetes can interfere with male fertility. Research shows that men with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes may be more likely to have the following problems:
- Lower than normal sperm concentration
- Abnormal sperm movement
- Higher incidence of abnormal sperm formation
While it’s possible to develop hypoglycemia without diabetes, the occurrence is rare. Having low blood sugar without diabetes may be a sign of one of the following health conditions, which may affect your ability to conceive:
- Low levels of cortisol, human growth hormone , or other hormones
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How Does The Screening Work
Your doctor will ask you to take a test called the oral glucose tolerance test. Heres what happens:
When youre screened early, if that screening is normal, you should get screened again around 24 to 28 weeks when insulin resistance from the placental hormones is at its peak, he says.
The placenta is the organ that connects you to your baby to nourish it as it grows. Some hormones that the placenta makes work against the action of the insulin your body makes. As the placenta grows, so does this insulin resistance. In some people, this change is enough to cause the blood sugar level to be increased as it is in people with diabetes.
Signs And Symptoms Of Low Blood Sugar During Pregnancy
As sugar is the source of energy for many of the bodys metabolic processes, low blood sugar will cause several symptoms to manifest. Some of them include:
- Weakness, tiredness, and fatigue can make you exhausted and cranky.
- It becomes harder to think with clarity.
- The body begins to sweat and shake uncontrollably often.
- You might experience irregularity or an increase in your heart rate.
- Your vision might become blurry and unclear.
- Tired even after a good nights sleep
- Difficulty in waking up in the morning
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Hypoglycemic Pregnancy: How To Spot The Symptoms
Pregnancy is an amazing thing but that doesnt mean that there arent plenty of changes to your body such as extra stretch marks, swollen feet, and backache, all of which take time to adjust to.
Whilst you are busy growing a baby and watching your tummy get larger, one thing that may not be so noticeable is changes in your blood sugar levels. Throughout pregnancy, the placenta produces extra glucose to support fetal growth but as a result, your body makes more insulin to help control blood glucose levels.
Simultaneously, hormone changes within the body can cause your body to reduce its response to insulin. This is a natural process known as insulin resistance and it ensures that adequate amounts of glucose are being passed to your baby from your bloodstream.
When there isnt enough insulin to move glucose out of your blood, it can cause your blood glucose levels to rise. This can lead to two different conditions, both of which are common during pregnancy: high blood sugar and gestational diabetes.
What isnt so common and so well known, however, is the opposite of high blood sugar and that is hypoglycemia. In this article, we explain what the condition is, how it is caused, the symptoms to be on the lookout for and how it can be treated.
For more parenting and pregnancy advice, why not take a look at how to get rid of stretch marks after pregnancy or our guide to working while pregnant?
Gestational Diabetes Tests And Diagnosis
Gestational diabetes usually happens in the second half of pregnancy. Your doctor will check for it between weeks 24 and 28, or sooner if you’re at high risk.
Your doctor will give you a glucose tolerance test: Youâll drink 50 grams of glucose in a sweet drink, which will raise your blood sugar. An hour later, youâll take a blood glucose test to see how your body handled all that sugar. If the results show that your blood sugar is higher than a certain level, youâll need a 3-hour oral glucose tolerance test, meaning youâll get a blood glucose test 3 hours after you drink a 100-gram glucose drink. Your doctor can also test you by having you fast for 12 hours, then giving you a 75-gram glucose drink and a 2-hour blood glucose test.
If youâre at high risk but your test results are normal, your doctor might test you again later in your pregnancy to make sure you still donât have it.
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Treatment For Reducing Severe Hypoglycemia
The treatment method for hypoglycemia are as follows:
- The patient should be fed high-calorie foods like fruit juice, sugar water, and glucose tablets.
- If there is a rare case of tumour then it has to be removed.
- If the patient is unable to eat then consulting the doctor at the earliest is required.
Maintaining a healthy style of living before and after conception can reduce all the risk. A pregnant woman should always seek expert consultation in planning her diet and exercise routine. Reverse Diabetes and deliver a healthy baby!
Targets Of Glycemic Control
Elevated BG levels have adverse effects on the fetus throughout pregnancy. At conception and during the first trimester, hyperglycemia increases the risk of fetal malformations and intrauterine fetal demise . Later in pregnancy, it increases the risk of macrosomia, fetal and infant death as well as metabolic and obstetrical complications at birth . As a result, meticulous glycemic control throughout pregnancy is required for optimal maternal and fetal outcomes.
An important first step in achieving optimal glycemic control is to set target BG levels . However, optimal targets for fasting, preprandial and postprandial BG levels in women with pre-existing diabetes have not been examined in randomized controlled trials and a variety of BG targets are used in clinical practice. Older studies confirm that the lower the mean BG, the better the outcome, with some suggesting a target mean BG < 6.7 mmol/L and, others, a mean < 6.9 mmol/L. A fasting BG target < 5.9 mmol/L is still associated with a 29% macrosomia rate . Recent retrospective data demonstrated that a mean A1C 6.0% in pregnant women with type 2 diabetes was associated with increased risk of neonatal complications compared to women with an A1C < 6.0% . In women with type 1 diabetes and good glycemic control during pregnancy with an A1C of 4.5% to 7.0%, there is still a linear relationship between third trimester A1C and risk of macrosomia .
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