Low blood sugar is a problem that can affect anyone, but it can cause serious complications in pregnancy if not treated promptly. Understanding the causes, symptoms, treatments and risk factors can keep a low blood sugar event from becoming harmful to mother and baby.
The early symptoms of low blood sugar include sudden tiredness, hunger, dizziness, shakiness, sweats and blurry vision. When blood sugar levels become dangerously low, judgment and muscle function may be impaired, and in the worst case could result in seizure, stroke or coma.
Low blood sugar can be caused by going too long between meals, large amounts of exercise or administering too much insulin.
A brief low blood sugar event is does not usually pose any serious threat to mother or baby; however, if a blood sugar drop is severe or over an extended period of time, fainting, seizure, breathing difficulties or coma can cause long-lasting problems for mother and/or baby.
Low blood sugar can be prevented by careful monitoring of blood sugar levels and by quick reactions when symptoms of a blood sugar drop begin. When signs are present, drink a glass or milk or juice, or eat a sugary food to bring blood sugar levels back up.
Women with diabetes or gestational diabetes are at the highest risk of developing low blood sugar during pregnancy and should take special care to monitor their blood sugar levels at all times.