Jaundice in newborns

Jaundice in new born babies is otherwise known as neonatal jaundice or Neonatal hyperbilirubinemia. It is very common in new born babies and occurs Bilirubin pigment becomes excess in blood. Usually this is during first three to five days after birth and is not dangerous. Yet another type is breast milk jaundice in which a substance in breast milk increase use of bilirubin in child’s intestine. This occurs after a week of birth and might last for a month or more.

There are different types of juandice: Physiological (normal) jaundice, Jaundice of prematurity, Breast milk jaundice, Blood group incompatibility (Rh or ABO problems).

Symptoms

Discolouration is the primary symptom. Skin and whites of eye becomes yellow colour.

Causes

Bilirubin is the pigment produced by breaking of red blood cells and is eliminated through stool. Juandice occurs when body produces excess bilirubin or when it is not properly eliminated by liver. Those children with Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, Biliary atresia, Certain medications, Congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection and other congenital problems etc is likely to develop juandice.

Jaundice in new born babies is otherwise known as neonatal jaundice or Neonatal hyperbilirubinemia. It is very common in new born babies and occurs Bilirubin pigment becomes excess in blood. Usually this is during first three to five days after birth and is not dangerous. Yet another type is breast milk jaundice in which a substance in breast milk increase use of bilirubin in child’s intestine. This occurs after a week of birth and might last for a month or more.

There are different types of juandice: Physiological (normal) jaundice, Jaundice of prematurity, Breast milk jaundice, Blood group incompatibility (Rh or ABO problems).

Symptoms

Discolouration is the primary symptom. Skin and whites of eye becomes yellow colour.

Causes

Bilirubin is the pigment produced by breaking of red blood cells and is eliminated through stool. Juandice occurs when body produces excess bilirubin or when it is not properly eliminated by liver. Those children with Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, Biliary atresia, Certain medications, Congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection and other congenital problems etc is likely to develop juandice.

Treatment

Breast feeding for about 8 to 12 times a day immediately after birth during first few days will help the to pass more stool and to develop more energy for the liver of baby to eliminate bilirubin. Increased level of bilirubin can damage brain cells of baby and can make it less active. There is a chance for developing seizure, and might cause deafness, cerebral palsy, or developmental delay. This can be detected early through blood test and be prevented. Physical examination itself helps to detect the disease.

Most common method is to expose the baby to sunlight and the method is called phototherapy. But eyes need to be protected with eye patches. Some times special blue lights are to be given to baby. Baby must be breast fed more frequently or fed with more fluids to prevent from skin rashes or loose bowel movements. In severe cases fluid will be given through vein. This is done upto a week and is the safest treatment. Frequent bowel movement is necessary and for this the baby is to be fed frequently.

Juandice is dangerous to those children born before 37 week’s gestation, with weight less than 2500 gram at birth, with blood group incompataible with mothers, who have infection, where forceps were used in delivery, for those whose siblings had disease wanting treatment at birth, when jaundice spreads to legs and hands and for those babies who developed jaundice with in 24 hours of birth.

Jaundice might be a symptom of some serious disease like abnormal blood cell shapes, Congenital spherocytic anemia, Elliptocytosis, blood group incompatibilities like ABO in which mother has O group blood and baby does not, Rh negative when mother is Rh negative and baby is positive, birth injuries, polycythema a condition with high level of red blood cells, Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, infection, prematurity, transfusions etc. In severe cases blood transfusion is required. Treating with intravenous immunoglobulin helps to reduce bilirubin levels. Drugs may be given to stimulate liver to eliminate bilirubin.

High bilirubin levels can cause brain damage called Kernicterus, Deafness, Cerebral palsy etc.Jaundice is severe if baby has fever.


Breast feeding for about 8 to 12 times a day immediately after birth during first few days will help the to pass more stool and to develop more energy for the liver of baby to eliminate bilirubin. Increased level of bilirubin can damage brain cells of baby and can make it less active. There is a chance for developing seizure, and might cause deafness, cerebral palsy, or developmental delay. This can be detected early through blood test and be prevented. Physical examination itself helps to detect the disease.

Most common method is to expose the baby to sunlight and the method is called phototherapy. But eyes need to be protected with eye patches. Some times special blue lights are to be given to baby. Baby must be breast fed more frequently or fed with more fluids to prevent from skin rashes or loose bowel movements. In severe cases fluid will be given through vein. This is done upto a week and is the safest treatment. Frequent bowel movement is necessary and for this the baby is to be fed frequently.

Juandice is dangerous to those children born before 37 week’s gestation, with weight less than 2500 gram at birth, with blood group incompataible with mothers, who have infection, where forceps were used in delivery, for those whose siblings had disease wanting treatment at birth, when jaundice spreads to legs and hands and for those babies who developed jaundice with in 24 hours of birth.

Jaundice might be a symptom of some serious disease like abnormal blood cell shapes, Congenital spherocytic anemia, Elliptocytosis, blood group incompatibilities like ABO in which mother has O group blood and baby does not, Rh negative when mother is Rh negative and baby is positive, birth injuries, polycythema a condition with high level of red blood cells, Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, infection, prematurity, transfusions etc. In severe cases blood transfusion is required. Treating with intravenous immunoglobulin helps to reduce bilirubin levels. Drugs may be given to stimulate liver to eliminate bilirubin.

High bilirubin levels can cause brain damage called Kernicterus, Deafness, Cerebral palsy etc.Jaundice is severe if baby has fever.

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