Jaundice in newborns or infant jaundice usually occurs in preterm babies. Babies born before 36 weeks of gestation are most susceptible to this condition. Newborns born with jaundice have high level of bilirubin in their blood. Usually, the condition heals naturally, as the liver of the infant matures. In rare cases, jaundice in newborns cause serious health complications including brain damage.Symptoms of jaundice in newborns
Between the second and fourth day after birth, the skin and the eyes of the infant suffering from jaundice become yellow. In the earliest stage of jaundice, the face of the infant displays a yellowish tint. When you press the baby’s forehead or nose, the skin would appear yellow at the point it is pressed, indicating that the infant is suffering from jaundice. As the condition progresses, the yellow coloration of the skin becomes more prominent, gradually spreading to the eyes, trunk and limbs.
Causes of jaundice in newborns
The worn out red blood cells are broken down into bilirubin, which is filtered from the bloodstream by the liver, and is eliminated from the body largely through the feces. When the fetus is developing in the mother’s womb, the mother’s liver filters the bilirubin from the fetus’ blood. A baby is born with a large number of red blood cells. These red blood cells break down at a fast pace, forming a large volume of bilirubin in the bloodstream. The immature liver of the newborn might not effectively filter the bilirubin from the bloodstream, causing jaundice in the newborn. Jaundice developed due to this reason subsides within three weeks. Jaundice in newborns can also develop from internal bleeding, liver malfunction, infections and deficiency in enzyme. Incompatibility between the blood groups of the mother and the child can also cause jaundice in newborns. Premature babies have a greater risk of developing infant jaundice.
Infant jaundice prevention
To prevent infant jaundice, you should ensure that your baby has been adequately fed with breast milk after birth. Mothers, who have difficulty in nursing their babies after delivery, make the newborn vulnerable to jaundice. During the first few weeks after birth, the infant should be fed at least eight times throughout the day.