Hypoglycaemia or low blood sugar is an issue with pregnant women who are diabetic. It is unusual for pregnant women without diabetes. As the mechanism of insulin secretion and blood sugar maintenance is very efficient in normal women, so hypoglycemia is not a problem. On the contrary, pregnancy hormones are diabetogenic i.e. they keep the sugar levels on the higher side. But the women who have pre-existing diabetes, are prediabetic or have gestational diabetes can get hypoglycemia. So if you have any episode of hypoglycemia, take it seriously and get yourself investigated. It can have serious consequences both for mother and baby.
Symptoms associated with hypoglycemia or low blood sugar:
It is defined as a situation when the blood sugar level is below 70mg/dl.
Sweating with chills
Nervousness, anxiety, crying, moodiness
Fast heartbeat, blurred vision
Tingling sensation around mouth or on tongue
If it occurs during sleep, it can cause nightmares, sweat on clothes or body, feeling tired or irritable on waking, seizures during sleep.
The patient is not able to control and assistance is needed. You may feel confusion, lack of coordination, seizures, panic, the feeling of doom, loss of consciousness, coma and even death can occur.
Pregnant women who are taking insulin or hypoglycemic drug ( glyburide) are at increased risk. Both high and low blood sugar are harmful to pregnant women.
Prevention of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar:
If you are diabetic, you should take precautions like
Food- Eating small frequent meals according to the instructions of the dietician with a balanced meal plan on proper timings can help. Meals should not be skipped.
Proper dose and timing of insulin
Exercise should be done after meal or snack. Over exercise is to be avoided. If an activity is increased, then the amount of food can be adjusted accordingly.
Always carry a snack
Keep a glucometer and frequently check the blood sugar levels
Treatment of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar:
Easily digested food can be taken such as fruit juice( ½ glass), 1 cup no fat milk, 1 tablespoon sugar, 3-4 glucose tablets. This is around 15 gms of carbohydrates. Usually, blood sugar becomes normal after 15 minutes but if still, it is low, repeat the 15 gms of carbohydrates or sugar.
If the patient is unable to ear or drink, emergency medical attention is needed. Glucagon kit may be prescribed. The hypoglycemic episode may cause loss of consciousness leading to accidents, injuries coma, and even death. So stringent sugar control is needed just like walking a tightrope.
Sugar control also needs to be checked during labor, delivery and after delivery of insulin, the requirement may decrease after birth making hypoglycemia more likely during the postpartum period also.