Sugar Addicted Newborns: the silent epidemic.

Dear fellow doctors and caregivers, 

It is time to OUT the silent epidemic of SUGAR ADDICTED NEWBORNS.  We owe it to the babies and to the mothers.


When a mother consumes high levels of sugar during her pregnancy or has diabetes with difficulty controlling her sugar levels; the baby will receive high levels of sugar through the placenta.  In response to these high sugar levels the baby produces more insulin.  Insulin is an anabolic (pro growth) hormone so the baby will often grow larger than normal.   When it comes time to deliver these large babies vaginally there is increased risk of complications including increased rates of C sections, shoulder dystocia, brachial nerve injury, and resuscitation.  Once the baby is delivered the high sugar source (mom) has been removed while the baby continues to make higher than normal insulin levels.  The high insulin levels drive the baby's sugar low creating hypoglycemia.  Risks of neonatal hypoglycemia include lethargy, tachycardia, poor feeding, seizures, and even coma. 

Recently, on my newborn rounds, 5 out of 6 babies were being closely watched for hypoglycemia with some needing urgent and high level infusions of glucose to rescue them.  Some babies require urgent transport to ICU settings because their sugar is so difficult to control.  

Are we as physicians and caregivers counseling expectant mom's on these risks?  My informal poll of colleagues found that this is NOT being discussed despite the epidemic proportions of babies affected.  

Sugar addiction, like opiate, tobacco, and alcohol addiction, has detrimental affects on the unborn baby.  The time has come to speak up, educate, and protect our mothers and babies against excessive exposure to SUGAR.  


Kevin Strong, MD   Community Pediatrician and Founder of Dunk the Junk