Low Sugar and Pregnancy Risks Associated With Such a Condition

During pregnancy, a woman experiences several changes in her body. The hormonal levels change and so does her requirement for energy to support the growth of foetus. Thus, it is mandatory that the pregnant lady goes for regular checks up and avoid the causes that can lead to sugar fluctuations. Both increase and decrease in sugar levels are harmful for the child and mother and result in complications during the childbirth. Read this blog to know about relationship between low sugar and pregnancy.

Insulin is a hormone that moves glucose or blood sugar from the blood to the body’s cells, where it is stored for energy. During pregnancy, the body produces more insulin for the baby’s development. In certain cases it is seen that during pregnancy the body becomes more resistant to insulin. Thus, many women during their pregnancy phase develop diabetes (gestational diabetes).

The chances of having high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) are more common in pregnancy, because of the changes in the body during pregnancy. How the body reacts to the insulin can also cause blood sugar levels to drop to dangerously low levels. Thus, it causes a condition called hypoglycemia. It is a case where blood sugar is less than 60 milligrams per deciliter (mg\dl). Hypoglycemia during pregnancy is common amongst women with diabetes.

Causes of Low Sugar During Pregnancy


Normal fluctuations in sugar levels during the pregnancy is normal, but if there is persistent case of low sugar known as hypoglycemia then several precautions are required. The causes that result in hypoglycemia should be avoided in the first place.

If the case of hypoglycemia is persistent, then there is an underlying cause of diabetes in women. Thus, women who are not diabetic from before usually do not face this issue. However, women suffering from it find it difficult to concentrate or could faint also.

Random fluctuation in blood sugar in pregnancy is often observed, as both pregnancy and diabetes cause the insulin to fluctuate. It is recommended by the health experts to avoid too much or too little sugar. It is mandatory for all ladies even if they are not in the high risk case to go for regular blood sugar tests.

Hypoglycemia in pregnancy without diabetes is rare. The following types of diabetes puts the pregnant lady at a higher risk for hypoglycemia issues:

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Gestational diabetes- hypoglycemia after gestational diabetes

symptoms of low blood sugar in Pregnancy

Low Sugar During Pregnancy Symptoms

As the body becomes weak and is unable to derive energy for the growth of baby, and it’s functioning, it shows the following symptoms:

  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty in thinking
  • Exhaustion
  • Moodiness
  • Anger
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Cold night sweats
  • Frequent nightmares
  • Difficulty in waking up in morning

Women with severe low sugar experience seizures, convulsions, or even lose consciousness.

Types of Hypoglycemia and Pregnancy


Hypoglycemia is of two types and depending on its type the medical treatment is given. Depending on the reason that has led to hypoglycemia, the women experiences either reactive or fasting hypoglycemia.

There are usually two types of hypoglycemia, they are as follows:

Reactive hypoglycemia: This form of hypoglycemia occurs as the blood sugar levels drop within a few hours of the meal. The case is predominant with people who are affected by sugar, but then at times may be seen in people without the diabetes condition also.

Fasting hypoglycemia: If the blood sugar levels drop dangerously between meals, then it is this case. It is common in people without previous case or present condition of diabetes.

Causes of Hypoglycemia


It is fairly uncommon to see pregnant women with hypoglycemia if she has no previous history of diabetes. However apart from diabetes there are several other causes also that can cause hypoglycemia.

  • Diabetes: It is the most common reason for hypoglycemia during pregnancy. However as per surveys it is more common to observe hyperglycemia among women but then hypoglycemia could also occur during the different stages of pregnancy. High blood sugar levels are a result of Type I diabetes where the body cannot produce the correct levels of insulin and in case of type 2 diabetes where the body has become resistant to insulin. Low blood sugar levels occur when the person is on diabetes medications or does not eat enough. The hormonal changes also play a vital role and result in the rise of hypoglycemia in women with diabetes. Thus emphasis is put on eating balanced and nutritional diet.
  • Gestational diabetes: At times women suffer from gestational diabetes during pregnancy. This happens as the women is insulin resistant during the pregnancy. Further the hormonal changes and the increased requirement of energy in the body results in hypoglycemia. About 9.2 percent of women experience gestational diabetes. However, after the birth of the baby the gestational diabetes goes away.
  • Morning sickness: Blood sugar reduces considerably in women who do not enough carbohydrates. If women who vomit continuously during pregnancy can also experience low blood sugar levels. Thus women who do not gain weight or vomit daily need to consult a doctor and get the sugar test done.
  • Lifestyle reasons: Lifestyle reasons that can lead to hypoglycemia are not exercising or leading sedentary lifestyle. Also here it should be kept in mind if the lady exercises too much then more energy is consumed and this can result in the decrease of sugar levels and thereby resulting in hypoglycemia. The two causes are lifestyle issue and can result in the disease. Even consuming too much of alcohol can result in hypoglycemia. Also if the lady consumes alcohol empty stomach then it can affect the sugar levels.
  • Medical conditions: several medical problems can also result in hypoglycemia in pregnancy without diabetes. Thus it could result in complications during pregnancy and foetal development. Acute hepatitis, organ failure, enzyme deficiencies, pancreatic tumors, glucagon and some other diseases can result in hypoglycemia.

how to treat hypoglycemia in pregnancy

Risk Factors Associated With Low Sugar During Pregnancy


Hypoglycemia can occur at any time during the pregnancy. It should be avoided with the help of a medical expert. However, there are certain things that will increase the risk with hypoglycemia.

The risks related to hypoglycemia are as follows:

  1. Diabetes– both pregnancy and diabetes affect the insulin levels to fluctuate. Thereby, consuming too much or too less of sugar will need constant monitoring. Thus consult your doctor regularly and get the medicines adjusted else the sugar levels can increase or decrease thus affecting the pregnancy and growth of fetus.
  2. The first trimester– hypoglycemia usually occurs in first trimester when the issue of vomiting and nausea is very common for the expecting mom. If ladies with Type 1 sugar then the chances of them experiencing hypoglycemia increases by three times. Mostly there is no fear in second trimester still taking precaution is mandatory.
  3. If before pregnancy there were hypoglycemic attacks– then in such cases one has to be careful a the episodes could recur again
  4. Being sick– there are certain illness where one may lose appetite resulting in use of existing sugar levels and this could result in hypoglycemic episodes.
  5. Malnourished– the importance of nutritional and calorie content of food is of prime importance during pregnancy. Lack of this could risk with the case of hypoglycemia

How to Reduce the Risk of Low Sugar in Pregnancy?

The best aspect is to reduce the risk of hypoglycemia rather than availing treatment for the same.

  1. Eat small, well balanced diet.
  2. While sleeping you are fasting thus keeping a snack by the bedside will prove of use so that you can eat it when you wake up during the night or as first snack after waking up in the morning.
  3. Indulge in moderate exercise regime, overdoing can affect the sugar levels in your body.

reactive hypoglycemia diet book pdf

Diagnosis of Low Sugar During Pregnancy

Based on the symptoms and blood glucose reading the doctor diagnoses the case of hypoglycemia. Thus the doctor asks the patients o record their blood sugar reading for several times during a day. The doctor prescribes a sugar monitoring kit for assisting in recording the sugar levels. Persistent low sugar blood levels indicate hypoglycemia, a single reading cannot decide the disease.

Effect of Hypoglycemia on Mother and Child

Severe cases of hypoglycemia may require hospitalization. The blood sugar level can drop to 300 micro grams per ml thus cause seizures and in extreme cases the mother can go in coma.

Low blood sugar during pregnancy can affect the development of the foetus during pregnancy. The infant so born can have hypoglycemia episodes from birth. The child can also have mental or physical abnormalities.

low blood sugar while pregnant

Treatment for Reducing Severe Hypoglycemia

The treatment method for hypoglycemia are as follows:

  • The patient should be fed with high-calorie foods like fruit juice, sugar water, and glucose tablets.
  • If there is a rare case of tumor then it has to be removed.
  • If the patient is unable to eat then consulting the doctor at the earliest is required.


what are ideal sugar levels during pregnancy?

Normal fasting blood glucose level is lower than 95 mg/dl and after drinking the glucose solution the normal blood sugar is level should be lower than 180 mg/dl. If the blood sugar levels are high then there could be birth defects in the child. To reduce the sugar levels balanced diet, consuming medicines, and regular exercise should be done.

What medical conditions cause hypoglycemia in newborn?

Reasons of hypoglycemia in newborns is a result of the following gestational diabetes, maternal diabetes, poor nutrition of mother during pregnancy, or perinatal asphyxia. Delayed feeding and hyperinsulinemia can also result in hypoglycemia in kids.

How much insulin should I take during pregnancy?

Total daily insulin requirement during the first trimester is 0.7 units/kg/day, in the second trimester it is 0.8 units/kg/day, the range however reaches to 0.9- 1.0 units/kg day.

How does pregnancy affect blood sugar?

It is a common observation that women may experience slight increase in blood sugar levels during pregnancy. The pregnancy and blood sugar levels often affect each other. the pregnant lady observes high blood sugar as she is unable to make and use the insulin required for the growth of the baby.

How to treat hypoglycemia in pregnancy?

If you start to feel any symptoms of hypoglycemia then in the following ways it is treated:

  1. Find a safe place to sit or lie
  2. Eat or drink 15 grams of carbohydrates. Simple carbs are high with sugar content.
  3. Consult with your health expert regarding the glycemic episodes.

How to control morning blood sugar during pregnancy?

Pregnancy hormones make it difficult to control morning sugar, but by making a few dietary chances it becomes possible to control the sugar levels. One of the ways is including whole grains, vegetables, fruits with peels, and dairy products. It is important that the carbohydrate consumption is spread during the meals. High fiber and low glycemic foods helps to maintain the blood sugar levels and keep full for longer hours.

Does breastfeeding affect blood sugar?

The newborns who are not fed on time face low blood sugar levels.

What causes a newborn baby to have low blood sugar?

  • Low birth weight infants
  • Wasted infants
  • Delay in onset of feeding
  • Infants of diabetic mother
  • Overweight for gestational age infants.
  • Polycythaemic infants.

Normal serum glucose level for newborn- the normal concentration of glucose in the blood of newborn infants is 2.5 mmol/l to 7.0 mmol/l. medically it is called normoglycaemia. Most cases baby blood sugar levels in babies are in the middle range that is about 3.5 to 5mmol\l.


  1. https://www.healthline.com/
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/
  3. https://www.ucsfhealth.org/

Leave a Reply