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Kidz First Neonatal Care

Public Service, Paediatrics, Intensive Care

Low Blood Sugar

Your baby may be tested or treated for low blood sugar.
What is wrong?
  • Sugar is the food used by the baby’s brain and other organs.  If the sugar in the blood gets low and stays low for too long, it may cause damage.
Who is at risk?
  • Babies whose mothers had diabetes in pregnancy.
  • Small babies, less than 2500 grams, especially babies who are smaller than average for the stage of pregnancy (small for dates).
  • Big babies, over 4500 grams.
  • Sick babies, such as those with an infection.
Is it serious?
  • Hardly ever! The blood sugar needs to be low for a long time to be harmful. We will test the blood sugar and give treatment if it is low.
What are the tests?
  • Blood tests are taken to check the sugar level. The blood is taken from a prick in your baby’s heel.
  • The normal blood sugar in babies is 2.6 or more.
  • Usually a test is done just before a feed.
What is the treatment?
  • If the sugar is a little bit low, we may give extra feeds.
  • If the sugar is very low, or it doesn’t get better with feeding, we will put in a drip to give the sugar.
How long?
  • Many babies can be on the ward with their mother.
  • The baby will need tests until the blood sugar remains normal with normal feeding.
  • Usually we want to see three normal blood test results with normal feeding.
Special checks
  • A baby who had low blood sugars does not need special checks after going home.

This page was last updated at 11:31AM on September 3, 2021.