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August 7, 1999

Family Planning, Hypoglycemia

Question from Rhode Island, USA:

My 22 year old daughter, diagnosed as type 1 diabetes 11 years ago, recently delivered her first baby. During the pregnancy she had several episodes of low blood sugar with seizures. When she was in the hospital, the night before she was induced, the baby's father told me she had the worst reaction he's ever seen. He said the room was full of people trying to revive her and that at one point they used some kind of electrical stimulant although he didn't think it was paddles. They asked him to leave while they continued working on her. She, of course, has no memory of the incident. I'm curious about just how bad can a low blood sugar get and what resuscitation is necessary.

Answer:

If given too much insulin, blood glucose can drop extremely low. However, if the hypoglycemia is recognized quickly, then resuscitation is very easy with glucose administration.

I cannot say what happened to your daughter based on the information given to me. There can be other conditions during pregnancy (eclampsia for example) that can cause seizures and may require aggressive action from the nurses and physicians.

OWJ