What are hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia?

Foods we eat are broken down to glucose (blood sugar), which is the body’s main source of energy. Extra glucose is stored in the liver and is released into the blood stream as needed. Insulin is a hormone that helps our cells use energy from glucose.

Hypoglycemia (also called low blood glucose) is when blood glucose levels are too low. When blood glucose levels are low, your body can’t get the energy it needs.

Hyperglycemia (also called high blood glucose) is when your body doesn’t have enough insulin or can’t use insulin correctly. Both of these conditions are common in women with preexisting diabetes.

Hypoglycemia is usually mild and easily treated by eating or drinking something with sugar in it. If it’s not treated, it can cause confusion and severe lightheadedness and you might pass out. Hypoglycemia can be caused by:
• Not eating enough. This may mean you’ve been eating meals or snacks that are too small, or skipping or delaying meals or snacks.
• Taking too much insulin
• Getting too much physical activity

If you have hyperglycemia, you may need to change the amount of insulin you take, your meal plan or the amount of physical activity you get. Signs that you may have hyperglycemia include if you:
• Need to go to urinate often
• Are thirsty
• Lose weight suddenly

Hyperglycemia can be caused by:
• Problems with the amount of food you eat and diabetes medicine you take
• Eating the wrong kinds of foods or more food than usual
• Being less active than usual
• Having an illness
• Stress

If you have diabetes, it is important to know the early signs of hyperglycemia. If hyperglycemia is left untreated, it may develop into a more serious problem. You can read more about it at this link.

Your health care provider can monitor you for both of these conditions during pregnancy to make sure you and your baby stay healthy.

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