Jaundice, a common condition in newborns, refers to the yellowish coloring of the skin and whites of the eyes that happens when there is too much bilirubin in the blood.
Bilirubin is produced by the normal breakdown of red blood cell. Usually, it passes through the liver, which releases it into the bowels as bile. Jaundice occurs when bilirubin builds up faster than a newborn’s liver can break it down and transfer it from the body. Here are some reasons why:-
- Newborns make more bilirubin than adults do since they have more turnover of red blood cells.
- A newborn baby’s still-developing liver might not be able to remove enough bilirubin from the blood.
- A baby’s bowels suck bilirubin that would normally leave the body in the stool.
Severe jaundice that is not treated can cause deafness, cerebral palsy, or other means of brain damage. In rare cases, jaundice may be a sign of another condition, such as new infections or a thyroid problem.
Physician recommend that all infants be checked for jaundice within the next few daylights of delivery.
Signs & Symptoms
Jaundice often shows around the second or third day of a newborn baby’s life. A jaundiced baby’s skin often will appear yellowed first on the face, then the chest and belly, and finally, the legs. It can also make the whites of the eye looks yellowish. Most newborns now go home from the hospital 1 or 2 days after birth, so it’s important for medical profession to check them for jaundice 1 to two days later. Parents too should watch their baby for jaundice. Jaundice can be hard to notice, particularly in children with darker skin. If you’re doubtful, gently press the skin on your baby’s nose or forehead and if jaundice is present, the surface of their skin will appear yellow when you lift your finger.
When to Call the Doctor
Contact a doctor if you think your baby might have jaundice. The doctors might take a small blood sample to measure your baby’s bilirubin level. Also call your doctor instantly if:-
- your baby has jaundice during their first 24 hours of life
- the jaundice is spreading or get darker or more intense
- your baby has a temperature over 100°F (37.8°C)
- your baby starts to look or be sick
- your baby is not feeding well
- you feel your baby is more tired than usual
It is difficult to tell how significant jaundice is just by looking at a baby, so any baby with yellow eyes or skin should be checked by a doctor.