Hypoglycemia and Pregnancy : Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors, & Treatment

Hypoglycemia and Pregnancy

Hypoglycemia is a condition that develops when glucose levels are low, more commonly referred to as low blood sugar. This condition is most often associated with diabetes, but it is not the only cause. Hypoglycemia during pregnancy is not uncommon.

Why does hypoglycemia occur during pregnancy, what is it associated with and what effect does it have on fetal development? In this article, we will answer all queries related to hypoglycemia during pregnancy.

What Is Hypoglycemia?

The risk of developing hypoglycemia increases during pregnancy. According to a 2008 study, 45% of pregnant women diagnosed with type 1 diabetes experienced episodes of hypoglycemia. These symptoms are more likely to occur in the first and second trimesters of pregnancy.

Pregnancy requires large concentrations of the hormone insulin, which controls glucose levels in the body. Increased demand can be explained by hormonal changes that affect blood glucose control. When a pregnant woman’s body is unable to produce enough insulin, gestational diabetes can develop. There is greater resistance to insulin, which leads to changes in the functioning of the body during pregnancy.

These factors can cause hyperglycemia, an elevated level of glucose in the blood. However, many women experience an alternation of these conditions: the level of sugar in the blood is either elevated or reduced.

Causes and Risk Factors for Hypoglycemia

The appearance of the above symptoms of hypoglycemia must be reported to the specialist leading the pregnancy. The main thing in the treatment and prevention of possible complications is to find out the exact cause of hypoglycemia. In clinical practice, it is customary to distinguish 2 types of glycemia.

Alcohol Abuse

Many pregnant women and their partners drink alcoholic beverages but such a habit if repeated daily can turn into an addiction, which is extremely dangerous. Alcohol abuse leads to the secretion of insulin among pregnant women, which then leads to hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.

Therefore, you must quit alcohol addiction to improve your and your partner’s overall health. For this, you can even seek treatment from any nearby rehab for couples to get sober. This big step will surely improve the quality of your life and ensure a safe pregnancy.


This is one of the main causes of low blood sugar during pregnancy. However, hyperglycemia (elevated blood glucose) will be the more obvious symptom. A decrease in the concentration of glucose in the blood may be associated with an overdose of drugs designed to control its concentration, as well as malnutrition. Some hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can lead to hypoglycemia. This once again proves in detail the need to adhere to the rules of a healthy diet.

Gestational Diabetes

This type of diabetes occurs exclusively in women during pregnancy and is associated with insulin resistance. According to studies, about 9.2% of pregnant women suffer from gestational diabetes. Diabetes usually goes away on its own after the baby is born. However, there is also the possibility of its “degeneration” into type II diabetes mellitus.

Morning Toxicosis

Repeated vomiting and waking up dizzy, which is typical for morning sickness, can also cause low blood sugar levels. Severe nausea does not add appetite, which can also be considered a risk factor for the development of hypoglycemia. Therefore, if you feel sick in the morning, drink a glass of lemon water. It will help you feel better.


Pregnancy is not a contraindication for sports, but an expectant mother should observe safety precautions. Exhausting exercise can cause hypoglycemia. In addition, other causes and predisposing factors for its development can be identified: eating disorders, smoking, and alcohol use. You need to take special care of your health during this time and make sure to give up harmful habits.


Some medications affect the level of glucose in the blood. We are talking not only about drugs prescribed for diabetes but also about others. These include some painkillers, antibiotics, and drugs containing quinine. Therefore, if you are suffering from symptoms of hypoglycemia, you must consult your doctor about the medication you are taking.

Symptoms Of Hypoglycemia During Pregnancy

If you have hypoglycemia, the symptoms may vary, but all affect many aspects of life. These include:

  • Weakness
  • Concentration disorders
  • Headache
  • Mood swing
  • Anxiety
  • Pallor of the skin
  • Dizziness
  • Pre-fainting state

In severe forms of hypoglycemia, more serious symptoms may appear, such as loss of consciousness, convulsions, etc.

Does Hypoglycemia Affect The Fetus?

Timely detection of hypoglycemia reduces harm to the mother and fetus to nothing. However, women suffering from severe hypoglycemia may require hospitalization and observation. This is because the loss of consciousness, therefore, falling, can cause serious consequences.

It is impossible to exclude the influence on the fetus due to hypoglycemia. It is known that women with gestational diabetes are statistically more likely to have large children, which can make natural childbirth difficult or completely impossible. In addition, the likelihood of injury to mother and child also increases greatly.

Diagnosis And Treatment

Doctors carry out the examinations to confirm or exclude diabetes mellitus in the second trimester. But in the presence of predisposing factors, the examination may be carried out earlier than this period. To determine the tactics of treatment, it is necessary not only to identify hypoglycemia as a condition but also to determine the cause of its occurrence.

To do this, it is necessary to evaluate and identify:

  • The history of the disease
  • Characteristics of the patient’s health
  • Presence of complaints and signs
  • Laboratory and other methods of examination

The management of diabetes, as the most common cause of hypoglycemia, varies. Get tested regularly and based on the results, you can make a nutrition correction and add a set of exercises to your routine. On an individual basis, based on the severity of the symptoms and the condition of the woman, a doctor may prescribe medications to control blood sugar levels. The main thing is to strictly follow all the recommendations of the doctor.