Jaundice in New Borns

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Jaundice in New Borns

Jaundice in New Borns

Infant Jaundice or Hyperbilirubinemia is a common condition in new born and usually appears within first five days of infant’s life. It’s a medical condition when baby’s blood carries excess amount of bilirubin thereby causing yellow shade on baby’s skin and sclera (white part of the human eye). It is not of serious nature unless it stays for more than 4-5 days post birth. A large number of the newborns have jaundice and it generally vanishes out within one or two weeks. You should keep a watch on your baby’s skin and eye color to ensure your baby is not suffering from severe jaundice, as high levels of bilirubin can lead to brain damage (kernicterus) or severe lifelong issues. It is advised to do a regular follow-up with your doctor until it goes away completely.

Causes or Reasons behind Jaundice in newborns

Excess of bilirubin is the major cause of jaundice.

Bilirubin is a yellow stuff, created when human body breaks down old red blood cells and it is excreted out through urine or stool. During pregnancy, bilirubin is automatically removed from baby’s body through placenta. Normally after birth, baby’s body can treat bilirubin on its own. Most of the time, babies have physiologic jaundice, which appears as a result of the inefficiency of their organs in decomposing bilirubin; and usually shows up  after 24 hours of birth. It increases for three – four days and then gradually goes away in a week.

It is very rare for an infant to have jaundice due to other issues such as infection, poor digestive system or Rh incompatibility.

Symptoms of Infant Jaundice are-

  • Baby’s skin and sclera turn yellow.
  • Baby is not being able to take feed well.
  • Baby becomes irritated.
  • Baby arches his/her back.

Treatment –

First of all, DO NOT PANIC, and immediately consult your doctor if your baby continues to show symptoms of Jaundice even after a week. Let your doctor decide the course of treatment.

Depending upon the severity of the condition, Phototherapy is used for the treatment of jaundice in newborns. In this technique, newborn’s body is exposed to fluorescent light, baby’s skin absorbs that light leading to reduction in bilirubin levels. Always consult a doctor, don’t try to treat yourself by placing baby in the sun. Only a particular light and controlled conditions are required for this treatment.

Most importantly, do not panic and ensure you feed your baby at least 8 to 12 times a day.

Just had your baby? Watch out for signs of infant Jaundice! Feel free to send question to our panel of verified Pediatricians.