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Life after birth : Jaundice in newborn baby

What is it?

Jaundice is a blood condition which commonly affects newborn babies. In normal cases, when red blood cells are broken down, a yellow pigment called bilirubin is produced and cleared by kidneys and liver. As the liver of newborn babies is relatively immature, it is unable to get rid of the yellow pigment which results in its accumulation. This causes the characteristic yellow hue of the skin.

Symptoms

  • It usually appears about 3-4 days after birth.
  • yellowing of the skin
  • yellowing of the white of the eye
  • baby may be more sleepy than usual

Treatment

Jaundice usually clears up on its own in about ten days. Depending on the severity of the condition, jaundice may be treated in different ways:

Mild jaundice
  • You may be asked to wake your baby and feed more often.
  • It also helps if the cot is next to a window so that the baby is exposed to sunlight.
Severe jaundice:
  • phototherapy
  • blood transfusion
  • drugs may be administered in your baby to stimulate the liver to get rid of the yellow pigment

Do note that if the jaundice is because of a liver disease, it may need to be treated differently. For this reason, a blood test is carried out in your newborn before initiating phototherapy.




               

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