All infants who are born to mothers with diabetes should be tested for low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), even if they have no symptoms.
If an infant had one episode of low blood sugar, tests to check blood sugar levels will be done over several days. This will continue until the infant's blood sugar remains stable with normal feedings.
Early feeding may prevent low blood sugar in mild cases. Persistent low blood sugar is treated with sugar (glucose) given through a vein.
Rarely, the infant may need breathing support or medications to treat other effects of diabetes. High bilirubin levels are treated with light therapy (phototherapy), or rarely, by replacing the baby's blood with blood from a donor (exchange transfusion).
Better control of diabetes and early recognition of gestational diabetes has decreased the number and severity of problems in infants born to mothers with diabetes. Usually, an infant's symptoms go away within a few weeks. However, an enlarged heart may take several months to get better.
- Congenital heart defects
- Heart failure
- High bilirubin level (hyperbilirubinemia) -- may cause permanent brain damage
- Immature lungs
Neonatal polycythemia(more red blood cells than normal) -- this may cause a blockage in the blood vessels or hyperbilirubinemia
- Severe low blood sugar - may cause permanent brain damage
- Small left colon syndrome - causes symptoms of intestinal blockage
Calling your health care provider
If you are pregnant and receiving regular prenatal care, routine testing will show if you develop gestational diabetes.
If you are pregnant and have diabetes that is difficult to control, call your doctor immediately.
If you are pregnant and are not receiving prenatal care, make an appointment with your health care provider or call the State Board of Health for instructions on how to obtain state-assisted prenatal care.
Review Date: 12/10/2009
Reviewed By: Kimberly G. Lee, MD, MSc, IBCLC, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC. Review Provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.