A new initiative launched at Cambridge Health Alliance’s Maternity Suite has reduced the rate of hypoglycemia in newborns by almost 50 percent since April 1, 2013. This exciting clinical outcome is a result of a practice change to delay bathing newborns until they are at least 12 hours old.
Hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar, is a medical condition that if left untreated can cause serious health issues in newborns. Delaying the bath gives an infant more uninterrupted time with his/her mother, which helps the baby recover from the stress of birth. Newborns need a lot of energy, which uses blood sugar, to transition to life on their own. Delaying the bath decreases the amount of energy used in the first hours after birth.
The percentage of newborns experiencing hypoglycemia, which was 12.6 percent from December 2012 to March 2013, dropped to 6.5 percent from April to July 2013. CHA clinicians and nurses presented this important data at the September meeting of the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Collaborative, a statewide organization of maternity hospitals.
More information about CHA’s maternity services is available here.