General Practice 2022

Neonatal hypoglycemia: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment

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Neonatal hypoglycemia: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment
Neonatal hypoglycemia: what é, symptoms, causes and treatment

Neonatal hypoglycemia corresponds to a decrease in the baby's blood glucose levels that can be noticed in the period between 24 and 72 hours after birth. This condition is more common in babies who were born premature, large or small for gestational age, or whose mother had inadequate nutrition during pregnancy. Neonatal hypoglycemia is considered when:

  • Glucose is below 40 mg/dL in full-term babies, that is, at the right time;
  • Glucose is below 30 mg/dL in premature babies.

The diagnosis of neonatal hypoglycemia is made within 72 hours after birth from the measurement of glucose concentration in the baby.It is important that the diagnosis is made as soon as possible so that treatment can be started and, thus, complications such as permanent brain damage and even death can be avoided.

Symptoms of neonatal hypoglycemia

Most cases of neonatal hypoglycemia do not lead to the appearance of signs or symptoms, however when it is prolonged or when the circulating glucose level is very low, the baby may have some symptoms, the main ones being:

  • Too much sleep;
  • Cyanosis, in which the baby's skin turns bluish;
  • Change of heart rate;
  • Weakness;
  • Respiratory alteration.

In addition, if neonatal hypoglycemia is not controlled, there may be some complications, such as coma, brain impairment, learning difficulties and even death.Therefore, it is important that the diagnosis is made in the first hours after birth and, if it is not made but the symptoms appear after a few days of birth, it is important to go to the pediatrician so that the diagnosis is made and treatment can be started..

Main causes

The causes of neonatal hypoglycemia are related to the habits and he alth condition of the mother. The baby is more likely to have hypoglycemia when the mother suffers from gestational diabetes, uses alcohol or some medication during pregnancy, does not have controlled diabetes and has inadequate nutrition, for example.

In addition, the baby may have low glycogen stores or excessive insulin production, which is more common in newborns of diabetic mothers, and feeding should take place every 2 or 3 hours according to the indication from the pediatrician.

How the treatment is done

The treatment for neonatal hypoglycemia is established by the pediatrician and breastfeeding is usually indicated every 3 hours, and the baby should be woken up if necessary, so that glucose levels can be more easily regulated.If breastfeeding is not enough to regulate the baby's glucose levels, it may be necessary to administer glucose directly into the vein.

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