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New Initiative at CHA Reduces Hypoglycemia in Newborns
Posted Date: 10/4/2013

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.


Cambridge Health Alliance is an academic community health system committed to providing high quality care in Cambridge, Somerville and Boston’s metro-north communities. CHA has expertise in primary care, specialty care and mental health/substance use services, as well as caring for diverse and complex populations. It includes three hospital campuses, a network of primary care and specialty practices and the Cambridge Public Health Dept. CHA patients have seamless access to advanced care through the system’s affiliation with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. CHA is a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate and is also affiliated with Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard School of Dental Medicine and Tufts University School of Medicine.