Jaundice in Newborn Babies

Yavanika Kaushal

Newborn jaundice is common in approximately half of the babies born. It is quite easily treatable, unless it becomes severe, in which case it could lead to results as grave as brain damage.

What is newborn jaundice?

Newborns, more often than not, suffer from jaundice a few days after they are born. It is categorized by a yellow texture in their skin, as well as the whites in their eyes. Newborn jaundice lasts longer in premature babies than those babies who were born at full-term.

In case the bilirubin levels become extremely high, there can be severe complications like cerebral palsy, brain damage, as well as deafness.

Why does newborn jaundice occur?

Newborns usually produce high quantities of bilirubin. Bilirubin is yellowish and is formed by breaking down red blood cells. It is removed from the body by the liver. In newborns, their liver might not be able to entirely process the huge quantity of bilirubin produced. This leads to jaundice in newborns.

This kind of jaundice, known as physiologic jaundice, occurs a few days after birth and usually resolves within two weeks.

Other causes of newborn jaundice:

●     Premature birth

●     Complications related to breastfeeding

●     Mismatch in blood type between mother and child

●     Infection

●     Complications related to blood or liver

Mothers are usually discharged from the hospital soon after childbirth, so it is quite common for jaundice to crop up after returning home from the hospital. However, if you notice any symptom of jaundice, take them to your pediatrician before things become serious. It is normally completely treatable if action is taken soon enough.