Low sugar levels in pregnancy make the mother feel sick, weak, and even faint. We explain everything about it and how to prevent these episodes.
Having low sugar levels in pregnancy is a situation that happens relatively frequently. It happens to a large number of pregnant women and its technical name is hypoglycemia.
Pregnancy is a stage in which multiple changes take place in the body. Besides, their health status has a direct impact on the development of the baby. The effects of hypoglycemia on the fetus could be harmful to the fetus.
Also, low blood sugar levels in pregnancy produce disabling symptoms and discomfort. Therefore, in this article, we explain everything you need to know about the subject and how to avoid this situation.
Low sugar levels in pregnancy or hypoglycemia
Low sugar levels in pregnancy, as we have mentioned, correspond to a fairly frequent situation at this stage. This is because internal glucose consumption is increased since the fetus needs it to grow. Even the development of the placenta itself depends on it.
Besides, the mother’s tissues are more sensitive to insulin. Insulin is the key for glucose to enter the interior of cells. This is explained in the Colombian Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
However, we must bear in mind that hypoglycemia in pregnancy can be secondary to diabetes. According to the same article, it is one of the most frequent complications. In fact, it is estimated that almost 14% of women develop gestational diabetes. Hence the importance of measuring the numbers in each trimester, with a blood test.
The problem is that treating diabetes with insulin increases the risk of low glucose levels. This situation can occur due to an inadequate dose or poor food control.
According to a study published in the Revista de gynecología y obstetricia de México, hypoglycemia in pregnant women does not seem to affect the development of the baby. However, it has been seen that in rodents it does carry numerous risks. Therefore, it should be considered a delicate situation.
www.kidsrush.com recommends our readers to read another article which is about How to prepare for a healthy pregnancy |7 Tips|.
What symptoms appear?
Many people attribute any discomfort that causes weakness to hypoglycemia. However, this is not so. Several requirements must be met to make this claim.
First of all, the blood sugar level must be below 0.5 grams per liter. Also, once glucose is ingested, the discomfort should disappear. The most typical symptoms include headache, paleness, and a sudden feeling of hunger.
Dizziness and cold sweats are also common. Low sugar levels in pregnancy can be accompanied by nervousness and irritability or even nightmares if the episode occurs in the middle of the night. However, most of the pictures unfold early in the morning.
How are low sugar levels in pregnancy diagnosed?
To proceed with the diagnosis, it is necessary to take into account what we have mentioned at the symptomatic level. Also, sugar levels must be less than 0.5 g / L, as we pointed out in the previous section.
It is important to bear in mind that certain factors can predispose to low blood sugar. For example, alcohol consumption, fasting, or intense physical effort. However, it is also possible that there is no identifiable cause. In that case, we speak of functional hypoglycemia.
There is a clear diagnostic difficulty that consists of the moment of measurement. Many pregnant women do not go to a consultation or are subjected to a glucose test at the precise moment of suffering hypoglycemia. A routine scan will most likely miss it.
On the other hand, a classic situation can be the admission of a pregnant woman who feels dizziness, nausea, or extreme weakness. In that case, the doctor may run a rapid blood glucose test and find low values. That would be enough for the diagnosis.
How to deal with low sugar levels in pregnancy?
When a pregnant woman has hypoglycemia, like anyone else, it is important to act quickly. The ideal is to administer a food that contains sugar, but that can be absorbed quickly and has a high glycemic index.
For example, a glass of water with dissolved sugar, caramel, or chocolate. Those that are absorbed slowly, such as bread or rice, should be avoided because they would take time to take effect. Also, to improve the feeling of dizziness, the woman should lie down with her legs elevated.
If hospitalization occurs because of an emergency call consultation, an intravenous line will likely be placed to administer glucose serum. This provides the necessary dose in a short time and calms the associated signs. We recommend you to avoid the things give below to deal with low sugar levels in pregnancy.
Is it possible to prevent this situation?
Low sugar levels in pregnancy can be prevented in most cases. For this, the mother’s diet must include enough carbohydrates. However, in this case, they must be slowly absorbed. In this scenario we recommend you to read our article Pregnancy and overweight = compulsory diet?.
According to the Havana Journal of Medical Sciences, the ideal is to eat five meals a day that are light and that the diet is varied. It is also advisable to avoid fasting or being in very hot places. These simple measurements support the target blood glucose values.