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What Causes Low Blood Sugar In Newborns

What Is An Abnormal Blood Sugar Level

Hypoglycemia of the Newborn

The lowest normal blood sugar level for a newborn baby is above 2.6mmol/L. This level of blood sugar is needed for the brain to function properly. It is important for your baby’s level to be increased to the normal range as quickly as possible as untreated low blood sugar can result in brain damage.

Low Blood Sugar In Newborns Prognosis

The outlook is good for newborns who do not have symptoms or who respond well to treatment. However, low blood sugar level can return in a small number of babies after treatment.

Hypoglycemia is more likely to return when babies are taken off feedings given through a vein before they are fully ready to eat by mouth.

Babies with more severe symptoms are more likely to develop learning problems. This is more often true for babies who are at a lower-than-average weight or whose mother has diabetes.


What Increases My Infant’s Risk For Short

  • Your infant was born earlier than expected .
  • Your infant was born at a low birth weight and length.
  • Your infant’s body makes too much insulin. Insulin is a hormone that moves glucose out of the blood stream and into the cells to be used for energy. This condition is called hyperinsulinism.
  • You have diabetes or had toxemia while you were pregnant.

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Does My Baby Have Diabetes

In adults, blood sugar problems are often caused by diabetes. If a mother has diabetes, her baby is more likely to have short-term low blood sugar at birth. The problem continues until the babys pancreas adjusts to his or her normal blood sugar level. But the blood sugar problem your baby has does not mean your baby has diabetes. If your baby has low or high blood sugar as a newborn, it doesn’t mean your baby is likely to grow up to have diabetes, either.

How Are Blood Sugar Problems Treated

Neonatal Hypoglycemia: Symptoms, Causes, and Diagnosis
  • If blood sugar is too low, you may feed your baby more often. The natural sugar in your milk or in formula helps raise blood sugar level. A healthcare provider may also give your baby supplemental sugar through a special gel by mouth, or by an IV line. In rare cases, some babies in intensive care may need medicine to keep their blood sugar level up.

  • If blood sugar is too high, a healthcare provider may give your baby insulin. This helps the baby’s body use up more of the sugar in the blood. If the baby is being fed through an IV, a healthcare provider may also lower the amount of glucose in the IV fluid. But babies need some sugar to grow and develop as they should. They can’t have all the glucose removed from their feeds.

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Why Do Some Babies Have Low Blood Glucose

  • In healthy full-term babies , blood glucose levels are at their lowest 1 to 2 hours after birth. After this, the levels usually start to rise as your babys body starts to use healthy sugar and fat stores.
  • Small and preterm babies may not have enough stores to keep the level up without extra feedings. These babies are most at risk for low blood glucose in the first 24 hours of life.
  • Babies whose mothers have diabetes may have trouble using their glucose stores. The normal rise in blood sugar that takes place after birth may not happen right away.
  • Babies who are large for their gestational age may have the same kind of problem during the first 12 hours of life.

Usually, low blood glucose levels will only last for a few hours, but can last up to 24-72 hours. Once your babys levels become normal, he shouldnt have further problems with hypoglycemia .

In very rare cases, low blood sugar can be severe or last a long time. If this happens, your doctor will do special tests to look for other causes.

How To Tell If Your Newborn Has Low Blood Sugar

Low blood sugar in newborns does not usually come with visible signs and symptoms. However, by keenly watching your baby, you should be able to infer the lack of sufficient levels of blood sugar. It is also important to note that these signs will vary from child to child. If you note any of these symptoms in your child, then you need to go see a doctor immediately.

  • Blue coloring of the skin
  • Restlessness
  • Poor feeding of the newborn
  • Seizure attacks
  • Sluggishness

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How To Diagnose Low Blood Sugar In Newborns

Newborns will have blood tests to know the sugar level for a few hours. A heel stick is used for this. The healthcare professionals will keep continuing the test until the glucose level comes to normal for nearly 12 to 24 hours.

Some other tests may include screening for metabolic disorders and urine tests.

Findings Reinforce Current Treatment Guidelines For Hypoglycemia

The Liggins Institutes Professor Jane Harding on low blood sugar in newborns ONE News, TVNZ
NIH/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Researchers have shown that treating hypoglycemia, or low blood glucose, in newborns according to current recommendations is safe and appears to prevent brain damage.

Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have shown that treating hypoglycemia, or low blood glucose, in newborns according to current recommendations is safe and appears to prevent brain damage.

Glucose levels that are too low–or too high–could maylead to brain injury in newborns and possibly result in severe intellectual and developmental disabilities. Until now, the threshold for blood sugar had only been an estimate, never having been verified by a research study in people. According to the latest study, infants treated for hypoglycemia at the recommended threshold level were no more likely to experience neurological problems by two years of age than those in a comparable group who did not need treatment.

“These findings are extremely reassuring,” said Tonse Raju, M.D., chief of the Pregnancy and Perinatology Research Branch at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, which funded co-funded the study. “There is now firm evidence that physicians can provide an essential treatment to prevent brain damage without concern that there might be any unforeseen increase in risk to the newborn.”

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Low Blood Sugars In Babies

We have recommended your baby be closely monitored because he or she is at risk of, or has had a low blood sugar level. Babies with a low blood sugar level may need to be admitted to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit for treatment until their blood sugar level reaches and is maintained within a normal range. However, many babies at risk of low blood sugars are able to be with their mother on the ward. A baby who has had a low blood sugar level with no complications does not need special checks after leaving hospital.

Treatment For Neonatal Hypoglycaemia

Management of Hypoglycaemia in newborns is diverse and can range from the simple task of feeding to surgical intervention. Some of the treatments include:

  • Adequate and timely feeding, assessing the consciousness levels and seeking early medical help is one approach to take before admitting the baby to a hospital.
  • Initial stabilization and supportive care include supplemental oxygen, intravenous access and monitoring of the babys vitals.
  • Intravenous 5 or 10 per cent dextrose solution may be administered to severely ill babies or in recurrent cases.
  • Anti-Epileptic drugs may be necessary for recurring or refractory seizures.
  • Surgical removal of a part of the pancreas may be suggested for congenital hyperinsulinism.

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Legal Help For Neonatal Hypoglycemia Cases

Early diagnosis and treatment of neonatal hypoglycemia is crucial the severity of the problems that can arise if neonatal hypoglycemia is left untreated highlights this point. Testing for hypoglycemia is simple, and if the baby had any risk factors for hypoglycemia and was not tested properly, the medical staff was negligent. The medical staff also acted negligently if the baby had hypoglycemia and this condition was untreated or not treated properly. If the baby suffered brain damage or an injury as a result of these negligent acts, it is medical malpractice.

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  • Rozance, P. J., MD. . Management and outcome of neonatal hypoglycemia. Retrieved from hypoglycemia& source=search_result& selectedTitle=2~54& usage_type=default& display_rank=2
  • What Is Low Blood Glucose

    Causes of Hypoglycemia in a Newborn

    You have been given this leaflet because your baby is at increased risk of having low blood glucose .

    Babies who are small, premature, unwell at birth, or whose mothers are diabetic , have gestational diabetes, or have taken certain medication, may have low blood glucose in the first few hours and days after birth, and it is especially important for these babies to keep warm and feed as often as possible in order to maintain normal blood glucose levels.

    If your baby is in one of these at risk groups, it is recommended that they have some blood tests to check their blood glucose level. Extremely low blood glucose, if not treated, can cause brain injury resulting in developmental problems. If low blood glucose is identified quickly, it can be treated to avoid harm to your baby.

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    Treatment Of Neonatal Hypoglycemia

    • IV dextrose

    • Enteral feeding

    • Sometimes IM glucagon

    Most high-risk neonates are treated preventively. For example, infants of diabetic women who have been using insulin are often started at birth on a 10% D/W infusion IV or given oral glucose, as are those who are sick, are extremely premature, or have respiratory distress. Other at-risk neonates who are not sick should be started on early, frequent formula feedings to provide carbohydrates.

    Any neonate whose glucose falls to 50 mg/dL should begin prompt treatment with enteral feeding or with an IV infusion of up to 12.5% D/W, 2 mL/kg over 10 minutes higher concentrations of dextrose can be infused if necessary through a central catheter. The infusion should then continue at a rate that provides 4 to 8 mg/kg/minute of glucose . Serum glucose levels must be monitored to guide adjustments in the infusion rate. Once the neonates condition has improved, enteral feedings can gradually replace the IV infusion while the glucose concentration continues to be monitored. IV dextrose infusion should always be tapered, because sudden discontinuation can cause hypoglycemia.

    Diagnosis Of Neonatal Hypoglycemia

    • Serum or plasma glucose levels

    • Serum insulin

    • Urine: Obtain a first-voided urine dipstick for ketones send urine for organic acid analysis

    • Screening for metabolic errors: Electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry in asymptomatic persons allows earlier identification of clearly defined inborn errors of metabolism, including aminoacidemias, urea cycle disorders, organic acidurias, and fatty acid oxidation disorders


    The detection of adenomas by celiac angiography has had limited success. The chance of detecting a tumor blush must be balanced against the potential risk of causing vascular trauma in infants younger than 2 years.

    See Workup for more detail.

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    For How Long Might Blood Glucose Checks Or Additional Treatment Be Required

    Blood glucose levels in babies usually become normal within 12 hours to 72 hours of birth, especially once a regular feeding pattern is established. The risk of low blood glucose is greatest in the first 12 hours of life in large-for-dates and full-term babies, and up to 36 hours of life in small-for-dates and preterm babies.

    It is rare for babies to continue to have difficulty maintaining their blood glucose levels. If this happens beyond 24 hours, speak with your babys doctor.

    For more information on your babys growth and development, visit <> .

    How To Treat Low Blood Sugar In Newborns

    What Causes Hypoglycemia? Dr.Berg

    Low blood sugar in newborns is referred to as neonatal hypoglycemia, and is generally experienced in the first few days after birth. The condition is experienced by 2 in every 1,000 newborns. In newborns, sugar is important for the energy supply of the brain during birth. Babies get their supply of sugar from the mother through the placenta before birth. After birth, the baby stores sugar in the heart, liver and muscles. Neonatal hypoglycemia can be caused by a number of reasons, and can be well managed to ensure the well-being of the baby.

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    What Causes Neonatal Hypoglycemia

    During pregnancy, the fetus is supplied with glucose and other essential nutrients through the placenta. The placenta stores some of the glucose in the form of glycogen. During the delivery, the infants brain uses up these glycogen stores. A part of glucose is also stored in the liver, and some other parts of the body. These are used up after the baby is born. After delivery, the child gets the needed nourishment through mothers milk. In the first few days after birth, the childs immune system is strengthened with the antibodies present in the milky secretion called colostrum.

    The composition of breast milk changes in the weeks that follow. While water forms a substantial part of the mature milk, other components of milk include carbohydrates, fats, proteins and other essential nutrients. Since the baby is dependent on milk for all the essential nutrients, the chances of child suffering from neonatal hypoglycemia would be high if the baby is not being breastfed well. If a child is not breastfed well, it will most likely lead to drop in blood sugar levels that might make the child irritable.

    The child will lose more energy from episodes of crying that follow. It is therefore, extremely important that nursing mothers find out all about the ways to breastfeed the infant properly.

    Which Babies Are At Risk

    • Babies whose mothers had diabetes during pregnancy.

    • Sick babies, such as those who have an infection.

    • Premature babies, born earlier than three weeks before their due date .

    • Small babies, less than 2500 grams, especially those who are smaller than average for the stage of their mother’s pregnancy. These babies are considered to be small for gestational age babies.

    • Large for gestational age babies who weigh over 4500 grams.

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    Why Is My Babys Blood Sugar Abnormal

    • Low blood sugar is common in many babies right after birth. The babys body is getting used to controlling its blood sugar level without help from the mothers body.

    • Mothers with diabetes have babies who are more likely to have low blood sugar. Babies who are either larger or smaller than the normal range for their age may also have low blood sugar.

    • High blood sugar can be caused by illness or stress. Its also common in preemies born very early. That’s because the organ that makes insulin is not fully developed.

    How Is Hypoglycemia In A Newborn Treated Or Treatment Of Hypoglycemia In Newborn

    Neonatal Hypoglycemia or Low Blood Sugar Levels in Newborn ...

    Treatment of this disease will depend on the babys gestational age and overall health. Treatment starts with rapid supply of glucose. Treatment includes providing the child with a fast-acting source of glucose. It can be as simple as a glucose and water mixture or as an initial feeding formula. Or the baby may need glucose through an IV line. The babys blood glucose level is checked after treatment to monitor if hypoglycemia recurs.

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    How Beasley Firm Can Help Call 866

    Here at the nationally known Beasley medical negligence law firm, our specialized medical and legal teams have the unique medical knowledge to help you or a loved one. We have an in-house staff that consists of doctors, labor and delivery nurses, emergency room nurses and neonatal intensive care nurses who not only treated infants who have had hypoglycemia but who are also well aware of all the conditions that could cause a baby to have a low blood sugar in the first place.

    If your child had hypoglycemia or low blood sugar after birth and now has developmental delays, a brain injury or cerebral palsy, please feel free to contact one of our birth injury attorneys, physicians or nurses at 866-2424 for a confidential and free consultation. Since 1958, we have had over $2 billion awarded on behalf of our injured clients. We were there for them when they needed us and we are here for you now.


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    What Is Hypoglycaemia

    Neonatal period means the first 28 days of life. Hypo means low and glycemia is the term used for blood sugar levels. Neonatal Hypoglycaemia is defined as a plasma glucose level of less than 45mg/dl, . The bodys sugar levels are regulated by ones hormones, the key hormone being insulin. Insulin regulates the body sugar and looks after its utilization and metabolism . When the organs and hormones are in homeostasis , your babys hormones keep their blood sugar levels under control but when the balance is out, hypoglycaemia in infants can happen.

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    What Is Blood Glucose

    Blood glucose is a sugar that moves through the bloodstream and provides energy to all the cells in the body. It is one of your babys most important sources of energy.

    Babies with normal blood glucose levels have all the energy they need for healthy growth and development. However, in rare cases, blood glucose levels can fall too low and cause a baby to become sick.

    When Should I Call The Doctor

    Hypoglycemia [Low Blood Sugar] : Causes, Signs & Symptoms & Treatment

    A doctors opinion will be needed if you notice your baby appearing sluggish or excessively sleepy, jittery, shaky, not feeding well or bluish discolouration especially of the nose or fingertips.

    Neonatal Hypoglycaemia is a serious yet treatable common metabolic condition in newborns. It may have a significant impact on the neurological health of the baby. Adequate preventive measures and early diagnosis with prompt treatment may help counter this potential problem in newborns.

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