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Low blood sugar in newborn

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Hypoglycaemia of the newborn is defined as a blood glucose of less than 2.5 mmol per litre. It occurs in 0.4% of all births, but is much more common in infants of diabetic mothers - previously diagnosed diabetics or gestational diabetics - and in low birth weight and premature infants.

Neonatal hypoglycaemia is a common condition that can be associated with brain injury

  • clinical management usually includes early identification of at-risk infants (e.g. infants of diabetic mothers; preterm, small- or large -for -gestational -age infants), and prophylactic measures are advised. However, these measures usually involve use of formula milk or admission to the neonatal unit

  • dextrose gel is non-invasive, inexpensive and effective for treatment of neonatal hypoglycaemia
    • prophylactic dextrose gel can reduce the incidence of neonatal hypoglycaemia, thus potentially reducing separation of mother and baby and supporting breastfeeding, as well as preventing brain injury
    • a concludes oral dextrose gel reduces risk of neonatal hypoglycaemia in at -risk infants and probably reduces risk of major neurological disability at >= 2 years of age without increasing the risk of adverse events compared to placebo gel (1)
  • a systematic review found oral dextrose gel (specifically 40% concentration) used to treat hypoglycaemia in newborn infants probably increases correction of hypoglycaemic events & may result in a slight reduction in the risk of major neurological disability at age >= 2 years (2)


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