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Why jaundice occurs in newborn?
27 Jan' 21

Why jaundice occurs in newborn?

 

 

What parents should know about newborn jaundice ? 

The majority of newborn newborns turn a little yellow. This condition, known as jaundice, is a very frequent and typically harmless aspect of the newborn period. However, in certain extremely rare circumstances, it can lead to (or be a symptom of) a more serious issue. As a result, parents must be made aware of the situation. 

  

What is the cause of jaundice?

High quantities of a chemical called bilirubin in the blood create the yellow appearance of neonatal jaundice. Bilirubin is produced primarily as a result of the destruction of red blood cells. It is broken down in the liver to make it easier for the body to eliminate through urine and feces.  

 

Read more Is it safe to take a common pain reliever while pregnant?

 

When it comes to getting rid of bilirubin, newborn livers require some time to get up and running. Jaundice commonly appears in the first two to five days of life and lasts for around a week. It can remain longer in breastfed newborns; we don't know why this happens, but it's nothing to be concerned about. Because bilirubin is an antioxidant that may help newborn infants fight infection, jaundice may be beneficial to them. Another reason why a little yellowness shouldn't worry parents is that it's not only transient, but it could also be beneficial to their kid as he or she exits the safety of the womb.  

  

Jaundice can occasionally indicate a problem: 

  

However, jaundice can occasionally be an indication of something else, and when bilirubin levels are high, it can have a long-term effect on the brain. This is extremely uncommon, affecting less than 1% of all babies. 

  

There are several factors that can increase the likelihood of high bilirubin levels, including:

  • Dehydration or a lack of calories This is most prevalent when babies are solely breastfed and a breastfeeding problem goes unnoticed.  
  • It's possible that the systems in place to eliminate bilirubin aren't quite ready yet.  
  • Infection or obstruction in the gut. In most cases, jaundice isn't the sole symptom.  
  • Incompatibility with ABO or Rh. When a mother and her infant have different blood types, it can cause more red cell disintegration than typical. Obstetricians are well aware of this, and testing is performed anytime there is a risk.  
  • A cephalohematoma or bruising (a lump or a bruise on the head). During a difficult birth, both of these things can happen. As a result, more red cells are broken down. 
  • Diseases of the liver. A variety of liver issues can make it more difficult for the baby's body to eliminate bilirubin.  
  • Diseases that are caused by a deficiency in a key enzyme. Some illnesses, such as Gilbert syndrome and Crigler-Najjar syndrome, cause a problem with an enzyme that is required for bilirubin removal.  
  • Genetic factors. All of these variables are not well understood. If one child in a household has jaundice, future children may be at risk as well. Babies of East Asian ancestry, for example, are more likely to have elevated levels of bilirubin.  
  • During the newborn period, babies are constantly examined for jaundice. Pediatricians frequently utilize a blood test or a device that monitors bilirubin levels through the skin to diagnose bilirubinemia. They determine whether extra monitoring or tests are required, as well as whether the baby needs therapy, based on the results and any risk factors. 

What is the treatment for infant jaundice? 

Phototherapy is the most common treatment, and it is utilized for the great majority of babies whose bilirubin levels become concerning. The baby is placed under a special light (or wrapped in a particular blanket with the light inside it) to aid in the removal of bilirubin from the body. This method is both safe and effective. When levels are extremely high and there is a risk of brain damage, therapies such as exchange transfusions, in which blood is taken out and replaced with new blood, are required. This is, however, quite uncommon.  

  

Feeding is also an important element of therapy since it aids in the removal of bilirubin from the body through the blood and urine. Feeding an infant regularly can also help prevent jaundice. Over 24 hours, babies should wet at least six diapers and have regular stools. The stool should shift from its usual state. 

  

What should parents be aware of regarding baby jaundice?  

When parents get home from the hospital, they must keep a check on their baby's jaundice. Dark-skinned babies may have a tougher time detecting jaundice. Pressing down on the baby's skin at a spot where the bone is close is a good approach to look for it (the forehead, nose, chest, or shin are good places to do this). This causes the skin to become whiter for a few seconds while the blood is pushed out. You may have jaundice if your skin is yellow instead of pale.  

As bilirubin levels rise, jaundice tends to spread downward from the face. As a result, doctors are less concerned about a baby who is yellow only in the face and upper chest rather than below the knees.  

 

Read more Consuming antibiotics while breastfeeding – Things you need to know

  

See a doctor, if your baby:  

is turning yellow, especially if it's spreading below the knees isn't eating well and/or isn't wetting at least six diapers in 24 hours, or having regular stools is very sleepy, especially if they don't wake up to eat is fussy and difficult to console arches their head or back, or otherwise acts strangely has a fever or is vomiting frequently. 

Remember that jaundice is frequent, but major complications are uncommon! If you're concerned, however, consult your doctor; it's always best to be safe than sorry.

 

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