causes newborn jaundice?
is caused by a build up of bilirubin in the blood. Red blood
cells normally breakdown and are replaced with new cells every
3 months. Bilirubin is a by product of these broken down red
blood cells. Bilirubin is usually processed in the liver and
excreted through the intestines through the baby's stool.
A newborn's liver is often immature and unable to breakdown
all the bilirubin. Therefore the baby's bilirubin level rises
and the pigment can be seen in the skin and eyes.
hurt my baby?
jaundice usually is harmless. However, if bilirubin levels
are high enough the bilirubin can deposit in the brain causing
permanent brain damage. Your baby will be screened for jaundice
in the hospital and usually again within 3-5 days of his birth.
If bilirubin levels are elevated, your baby will be treated
and symptoms of newborn jaundice
of the skin and whites of the eyes is the primary symptom
of jaundice. Babies with jaundice may be more sleepy and less
interested in feeding.
will be initially screened for jaundice in the hospital with
a heel stick blood test. The blood test checks for the amount
of bilirubin in the blood. Your doctor may want to recheck
your baby's bilirubin levels again three to five days after
birth. If bilirubin levels are high enough, your doctor will
order phototherapy for your baby. Phototherapy may be done
in the hospital with bililights or at home with a biliblanket.
If bililights are used, your baby will be placed in a bed
under special lights that help break down the bilirubin. Biliblankets
can be used in the home and work similarly to bililights.
A special pad with lights is placed directly on the baby's
skin underneath the baby's clothing.
baby has jaundice, you will want to encourage frequent feedings.
Bilirubin is excreted in your baby's stools so frequent feeding
will help your baby get rid of excess bilirubin.
a blood transfusion may be necessary to treat jaundice.