jaundice

Newborn jaundice occurs when a baby has a high level of bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is a yellow substance that the body creates when it replaces old red blood cells. The liver helps break down the substance so it can be removed from the body in the stool.

A high level of bilirubin makes a baby’s skin and whites of the eyes look yellow. This is called jaundice.

Newborn jaundice is not harmful most of the time. For most babies, jaundice will get better without treatment within 1 to 2 weeks.

A very high level of bilirubin can damage the brain. This is called kernicterus. The condition is almost always diagnosed before the level becomes high enough to cause this damage. Treatment is usually effective.

Some newborns need to be treated before they leave the hospital. Others may need to go back to the hospital when they are a few days old. Treatment in the hospital usually lasts 1 to 2 days.

Sometimes, special blue lights are used on infants whose levels are very high. These lights work by helping to break down bilirubin in the skin. This is called phototherapy.

  • The infant is placed under these lights in a warm, enclosed bed to maintain a constant temperature.
  • The baby will wear only a diaper and special eye shades to protect the eyes.
  • Breastfeeding should be continued during phototherapy, if possible.
  • In rare cases, the baby may need an intravenous (IV) line to deliver fluids.

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Proud father of Nina, a beautiful little girl. And hopefully of another baby soon :)

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