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Homebirth and Hypoglycemia

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I am planning on a homebirth.  I met with my midwives yesterday after doing a 12 hour fasting and 2 hour post prandial blood sugar test a few weeks ago.  My post prandial #'s were lower than my fasting, indicating that I had hypoglycemia.


Last night, at my appointment, after discussing changes I've made in my diet given this new information (I'm still a work in progress), one of my midwives said that w/ my blood sugar #'s as they are right now (fasting 97, pp 85) I wasn't a good candidate for an out of hospital birth.  I was a little too stunned to ask much last night.  The rest of the appointment went by typically and no other mention was made about me not having a home birth.  I emailed one of the midwives this morning and I'm just waiting to hear back.


I was wondering if anyone could share some insight into how the hypoglycemia effects the safety of birthing at home.  Thank you!!!!

post #2 of 7

Interesting.  I tend to be hypoglycemic at times, especially after ingesting a large amount of sugar or a very carb-heavy meal, but it was never brought up as an issue with my midwife.  Did you feel ill when your numbers were low?  I've passed out a few times from hypoglycemia but not since I was a teenager.  I keep it under control now with diet, i.e. making sure my carbs and proteins are balanced, and avoiding processed sugar.


I would see if you could maybe monitor your blood sugar for a few weeks and maybe they will reconsider?  Or get a second opinion.  If this hasn't been an ongoing problem and/or you didn't actually feel ill or lightheaded when the numbers were low, I'm not sure why this would be a problem.  Then again I'm not a doctor of course.

post #3 of 7

Bumping to see if you can get some useful info.


I don't have anything other than a guess for you:  If blood sugar goes extremely low it can affect both you and your baby's brain function and other organs essential to life.   . .. but that can be taken care of by eating well and eating while in labor . . .so I don't know what the concern is.


I have hypoglycemia and I refused the glucose test because I knew it would mess up my blood sugar.  I just don't take in that much glucose at one time . . . ever . . . so it is a ridiculous test for me.  Instead, I got a glucose meter and monitored my blood sugar at regular times over 2 weeks.  It helped me see how my nausea was related to low blood sugar.  I was also able to find out what foods (fat and protein) helped stabilize my blood sugar for longer periods of time.


My midwife never spoke of concern for a home birth.  Maybe your's could explain why she might be concerned?


I ate while in labor and had food/drinks on hand for after the birth to help stabilize blood sugar.  

post #4 of 7

Wanted to add also that I didn't do the traditional glucose test either, because I KNEW it would read me as hypoglycemic.  Just based on past experiences of drinking/eating a ton of sugar with no protein to balance it....and then passing out :)  my midwife was aware of this and had me do an alternative test (drinking grape juice) instead of the regular glucose test.  so at least in my case she didn't consider it enough of a concern to worry about during the birth.  which is why I am wondering if you actually felt ill, or if this has been an ongoing problem for you?  as long as your blood pressure wasn't dropping dangerously and/or there weren't other physiological things going on to indicate that the situation could be dangerous to your or baby, I'm just not sure why mildly low numbers alone would risk you out.

post #5 of 7
So, hypoglycemia as a medical condition means blood sugar less than 70. I know conventionally it is also used for whenever people have that feeling (regardless of the number). But either way, the treatment is.... Giving sugar. Or in the long term of course changes in diet to prevent the peak-crash thing. But I am not aware of hypoglycemia In a person NOT on diabetic meds ever causing a problem that couldn't be fixed with giving a little sugar when you feel low. Maybe I'm being a little too "conventional" or "allopathic" in my thinking here, but this sounds like a made-up diagnosis for basically a physiologic (if perhaps a bit dramatic) response by your body. Ask her to show you some studies showing its a risk factor for birth complications. Just as MDs shouldn't get away with an intervention just because they feel like it (or had a bad outcome or heard of one once) neither should a midwife (unless you agree, and share the same feeling/ concern).
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the info Ratchet!!!!


I contacted one of my midwives yesterday who said that she also had a "moment of confusion" when she heard the other say that.  Long story short, she feels that my chances for not being a good candidate are minimal (running on the small chance that I'm not controlling it w/ diet and end up with gestational diabetes that is out of control).  She did say that the baby will require some additional monitoring just to make sure his blood sugar is fine, but it shouldn't require anything other than observation.


Reflecting back on my conversation with the other midwife, I feel like she used it as a scare tactic.  We had been discussing my diet and she wasn't terribly happy with it.  I've been replacing refined sugar with things like agave nectar, honey and maple syrup (and using much less which is what I'd been told before to do) in addition to eating much less sugar overall.  I also said that I occasionally liked to have hot chocolate or ice cream (like twice a week, both in moderation).  After that is when she said that w/ my #'s I wasn't a good candidate, etc...  The other midwife suggested that she was just trying stress the importance of dietary changes.


Personally, I am not happy!  My husband is beyond not happy.  Unfortunately, they're the only option in town.  Also, they come as a pair - one that I LOVE and this other one that I have less than nice opinions about right now...

post #7 of 7
Hi mama,
As a hypoglycemic mom who had two successful homebirths ( one just 4 months ago), I just wanted to interject a couple of things. Diet is really critical during pregnancy and nursing. It sounds like you are doing all the right things in getting rid of refined sugars; I STRONGLY recommend upping your protein too. Protein actually is better for keeping our blood sugar more stable than simple sugars or carbs. I kept a mix of nuts and dried fruit on hand that i could grab a handful from if i felt a little snacky. I also ate a lot of jerky to keep my blood sugar up, and ate several small meals all day long instead of 2 or 3 big ones.

I refused the blood glucose test both pregnancies as i didnt see the need to stressing my system by fasting when i know i am hypoglycemic already! I had taken the test with myfirst pregnancy, and felt horrible for two days because of fasting. We kept an eye out for GD through monthly testing of my urine ( which was always normal). My MW never even mentioned watching out forbaby's blood sugar after birth - it never seemed to be an issue. Both labors went just fine, although i was a little shaky from low blood sugar after this last babe was born. We dealt with it by my slowly eating my trail mix and having some juice for a quick energy boost. Within 30 minutes i felt normal again.

I think that if you are paying attention to eating less refined sugars and processed foods, and have high protein foods and snacks available for labor and after birth, you should be fine.

I hope this helps, and feel free to pm me if you have any questions!

Good luck with your homebirth!
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