Hello everybody, I am Praveen, a neonatologist at NCRI Neonatal Network. Today I am going to talk about an important condition called hypoglycemia of newborn. Hypoglycemia is a condition where the blood sugar level in the newborn tends to fall down. Normally once the baby is born, they are separated from the mother and the cord is clamped the glucose supply from the mother to the newborn is interrupted. Hence the sugar level tends to fall down, however, as soon as the baby starts breastfeeding on the mother, it tends to normalize. Hence we recommend, as soon as it is possible, once the baby is born they should be fed by the mother. In conditions where the mother is not able to feed the infant, formula feeding should be done.
The symptoms of hypoglycemia are shaking or trembling of the limbs, which is called as jitteriness. Babies can very lethargic, may not be interested in the feeding. They can cry incessantly or become very dull. They might have breathing difficulties or pauses in the breathing and also have bluish discoloration of the fingers and toes. Some babies are at higher risk of developing low sugars in their blood. These infants are either born to mothers with diabetes or have a condition called intrauterine growth retardation or premature infants or infants with infection.
The babies who are at risk of developing low sugars are screened by the way of blood test at regular intervals to identify the low sugar levels early and institute the treatment as soon as possible. The first line of treatment would be encouraging on mother’s milk or giving formula feeding. However in some infants, the sugar level would not normalize even after milk feeding. They would need to be admitted in the newborn unit, monitored closely and might need glucose infusions through the veins. Some of the newborns might need medications to stabilize the blood sugar level. The brain needs a constant supply of glucose. Hence any conditions where the blood glucose level is low can affect the functioning of the brain and when it is very severe, it can lead to fits or seizures or even long term neurological abnormalities. Hence it is very important that babies who are at risk of developing low sugars should be screened regularly and glucose should be normalized as soon as possible
Team Ovum Hospitals