Purpose: To determine the (1) incidence of peripheral blood glucose (PBG < 40 mg/dL) in infants within 2 hours of birth and (2) validity of using maternal and infant risk factors and/or infant signs/symptoms of hypoglycemia as a screen for PBG < 40 mg/dL.
Study Design: Descriptive study with a convenience sample of 220 mother–infant dyads admitted to a mother–baby unit. Maternal and infant risk factors and infant signs/symptoms of hypoglycemia were assessed, and a PBG value was obtained within 2 hours of birth from the infant. Data were analyzed with descriptive statistics, multiple regression analysis, and sensitivity and specificity testing.
Results: The incidence of PBG < 40 mg/dL was 5.1% (N = 10 of 198). Fifteen maternal/infant risk factors were found; 2 of the 23 risk factors predicted PBG values within 2 hours of birth at a statistically significant level (jitteriness [p = .011] and tachypnea [p = .033]). Sensitivity was 71.9% and specificity 44.7% for using the presence of at least one maternal/infant risk factor and/or infant signs/symptoms of hypoglycemia to correctly identify PBG < 40 mg/dL within 2 hours of birth.
Clinical Implications: Nurses working with mothers and infants can use the data from our study along with the recommendations from professional organizations such as American Academy of Pediatrics to begin a conversation at their institutions about revising protocols for routine PBG testing. Screening infants for maternal/infant risk factors and infant signs/symptoms of hypoglycemia could be used instead to safely decrease by 45% the number of infants who would need to have a PBG sample obtained within 2 hours of birth.