Hypoglycemia – low blood sugar levels – can affect anyone, but for a pregnant woman, this factor can be a concern because low glucose in uncontrolled pregnancy can cause serious consequences that endanger both the life of the pregnant woman and the baby.
The low amount of sugar in the blood can cause an unpleasant feeling of weakness and dizziness, but can also cause brain damage and even the coma.
Low Glucose in Pregnancy
Low glucose is the lack of blood sugar that can occur in both healthy and diabetic people, although it is more common in decompensated diabetes and its definition is blood glucose lower than 60 mg / dl2.
Usually, in healthy individuals, a picture of hypoglycemia appears when they exercise in fasting, or they stay for many hours without eating, which leads to a sudden drop in blood sugar.
In pregnant women, especially from the first and second trimester of pregnancy, there is a need for protective mechanisms against hypoglycemia, since fetal glucose consumption becomes intense in this period.
This protection comes through hormones naturally produced by the placenta, such as estrogen, progesterone and chorionic somatomammotropin, which act by attenuating the action of insulin, making more glucose available in the bloodstream.
In an early stage of pregnancy, it is associated with a decrease in fasting blood glucose levels of about 5-10 mg / dl1, which is due to increased glucose consumption by the baby and a decrease in the liver metabolic process.
Increased glucose uptake, as well as stimulation of pancreatic cells by estrogen and progesterone hormones, lead to maternal hyperinsulinemia and subsequent fasting hypoglycemia, hence the need for the pregnant woman to have a polyfoured diet with no prolonged periods of fasting.
Causes of Hypoglycemia in Pregnancy
The most frequent causes of hypoglycemia are excess insulin administered, decreased caloric intake (especially if there is a delay or if meals are omitted and in the presence of vomiting and diarrhea) and excessive activity/exercise.
In general, the main cause is the maintenance of insulin administration when there is a decrease in the caloric intake, as can occur in the first trimester of pregnancy, a period in which nausea and vomiting are persistent and requires a dose adjustment of insulin.
Consequences of hypoglycemia
- – Somnolence;
- – Dizziness;
- – Visual disturbance;
- – Sweating and chills;
- – Irritability and impatience;
- – Mental confusion and even delirium;
- – Tachycardia, heart beating faster than normal;
- – Change of diction;
- – Decreased concentration/memory change;
- – Motor discoordination
- – Disorientation;
- – Convulsion;
- – Loss of consciousness;
Fetal risk: can it harm the baby?
In the occurrence of maternal hypoglycemia, fetal hypoglycemia may occur. Baby’s deprivation of glucose can have short- and long-term consequences. Studies over the past few years have illustrated the importance of glucose as a basis for the proper development of the baby.
How to ease the symptoms of low glucose in pregnancy?
The body of the expectant mother needs more glucose during this period, so a balanced diet, physical activities with specialized follow-up for pregnant women and regular consultations with the doctor, can help reduce symptoms and improve the quality of life and well-being in this period. Important.
Unlike us who can employ fats or proteins as energy sources, the fetus uses only glucose. Therefore, it is essential that the pregnant woman acquires the habit of eating meals every 2 hours to avoid oscillations of blood glucose levels. It is advisable to give preference to the consumption of:
- – carbohydrate foods;
- – fruit in a shell;
- – whole grains;
- – vegetables and
- – lean meats.
What to do in case of hypoglycemia crisis?
In the event of sudden onset, with mild symptoms, hypoglycemia can be easily reversed by ingestion of 15 to 20 grams of glucose. This amount can be obtained from a glass of juice, 1 tablespoon of honey or sugar, a slice of toast, 4 crackers, or a serving of any carbohydrate-rich food.
The only way to be sure that your glucose levels are too low is to monitor them by using your device if possible. If you do not have it, it is recommended that you go to a health center near your home to perform this check.
In more frequent cases and if the symptoms are getting worse it is recommended to seek medical help for proper treatment and control so that there are no complications in the health of the future mother and the baby.
Make the treatment recommended by your doctor and nutritionist. The low glucose in pregnancy can cause accidents, injuries, lead to coma and even death.