Awareness on Jaundice in Newborns Is Crucial

Jaundice in newborns is common; one in every 3 newborn babies develop yellowish discoloration of the skin. Most new parents are unaware of the implications associated with neonatal jaundice. By the third day after child birth they are back home with their healthy lusty baby, when the jaundice makes its first appearance. Eyes do not see that mind does not know, and the intervention gets delayed till baby looks obviously yellow.

Yellow discoloration of the skin

The yellow color to skin and eyes is imparted by free bilirubin circulating in the blood, which is toxic to brain tissue.

Jaundice in Newborns: Pathway of Bilirubin Accumulation

At high blood levels, free bilirubin easily crosses the blood brain barrier in neonates and causes various degree of injury to the developing brain; hearing impairment to cerebral palsy. Children born with normal mental capabilities suffer lifelong neurological sequel that are entirely preventable by early diagnosis, diligent follow up, meticulous monitoring and prompt treatment.

Forewarned is forearmed

Not a difficult task. 
It only needs that parents should be well informed on the subject to mark the evolving signs of hyperbilirubinemia. Jaundice usually starts showing on the third day of life, when the baby has normally reached home. Therefore, parents’ awareness on neonatal jaundice is crucial

How Parents Can Detect Jaundice Newborn?

Parents who receive adequate information on hyperbilirubinemia during their prenatal visits are well equipped to notice the change of the skin color or behavior in their baby.

They are then in position to reach for medical attention early enough for effective and rewarding management.

Parents can help in treatment of jaundice in newborns 

 By knowing the risk factors:

  • Mother’s Blood Group
     > O Positive with baby of A or B
     > Rh Negative with baby of Rh Positive

  • Gestational Diabetes in the mother

  • Previous baby with jaundice in newborn period

  • Ethnic group; more frequently seen among east Asians

  • Baby born before term

  • Cephalhematoma or other bruises

  • Feeding difficulties in the baby

  • Exclusive breastfeeding

  • Dark skin babies

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Have baby’s bilirubin levels checked before leaving the hospital

  • Visual judgment for level of bilirubin can often be erroneous

  • Do not hesitate to get baby pricked for blood bilirubin evaluation if percutaneous bilirubinometer is not available.

  • Have bilirubin evaluated on nomogram for accurate risk determination.
Bilirubin Nomogram

v      Follow up for recheck on jaundice status on second day after discharge.

v      Draw prompt medical attention if

  • Baby does not wake up for feeds

  • Cries inconsolably

  • Experience difficulty in feeding

  • Less than 6 wet diapers per day

  • Not passing stool every day

  • Arching movement of back or neck 

  • Shrill cry

v      Lastly, if treatment is recommended do not resist admission.

Phototherapy for Jaundice in Newborns

Phototherapy for one to three days
is easy and effective solution to
the threat of jaundice in newborns.

Why sunlight exposure is Not advisable?

What can prevent rise in bilirubun blood levels?

  • Frequent adequate feeding

  • Avoid dehydration in the baby

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