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Neonatal Jaundice: Things Interest You

Neonatal jaundice is one of the most common problems that will face you at the beginning of your newborn’s life, It usually needs medical attention and parent’s care.
Neonatal Jaundice: Critical 8 Things Interest You

Neonatal Jaundice: Critical 8 Things Interest You

what is neonatal jaundice? Why it’s occurring? Its complications and how we can treat it? Here we will try to answer all of your concerns and explain how to make it a simple period in your baby life. We will divide our article into very important 5 parts.

Part one: What is Neonatal jaundice?

It’s one of the most common conditions you will see in the early weeks of your neonatal life, and it’s often disappeared without complications. Yellowing skin and whites of eyes are what distinguish this situation. in general, it happens to the newborns most time during the first week of their life.

Around 60-80% of term and pre-term babies have neonatal jaundice; the highest incidence of jaundice in newborn babies between the third and the fifth day of their lives, while occurring at a later period in preterm infants, The younger the preterm infant, the longer jaundice lasts.

It’s more common among infants who haven’t completed the full months of pregnancy (less than 38 weeks), and babies who rely on breastfeeding only.

Part two: Why neonatal jaundice occurring?

Neonatal jaundice is not a disease in itself, but it is a health problem caused by a substance in the baby’s blood called BILIRUBIN, which is produced when Heme dissolved. The red blood cell breakdown is the main source of it.

Heme dissolved leads to produce insoluble bilirubin in water (Indirect bilirubin). Then, this indirect bilirubin enters the liver, and there it’s linked with GLUCURONIC ACID, This process will make it soluble in the water (Direct bilirubin), which finally excreted in feces and urine.

Fetal has a different form of hemoglobin, Once they are born, the body starts quickly to breakdown old red blood cells and starting to produce new red blood cells with new hemoglobin form, which is more suitable for life outside the uterus.

This breakdown is a very heavy burden on the liver system at the baby which works slowly in the early days of his/her life.

As a result of these factors, indirect bilirubin accumulates, which causes the yellow color of the baby’s skin and eyes, During the first days of the baby’s life, the liver develops and jaundice gradually decreases.

Other reasons: 

An underlying disorder may cause neonatal jaundice, In these cases, jaundice often appears early or too late for the most common jaundice time in infants, Diseases, and medical conditions that cause jaundice include:


  1. Internal hemorrhage (bleeding).
  2. Infection in the child’s blood.
  3. Bacterial or other viral infections.
  4. Incompatibility between the mother’s blood and the child’s blood.
  5. Dysfunction of the liver.
  6. Deficiency of enzymes.
  7. Disruption of red blood cells in the child, causing rapid breakage.

Part three: What are the common symptoms?

Jaundice begins to appear within the second or third day of baby birth. The common symptoms are the yellowing of the baby’s skin, firstly on the face, then the chest, abdomen, and legs, The white area of​​the eye turns yellow also.

Most babies usually leave the hospital two days after birth, So it is important for parents to notice the symptoms of jaundice on the child, and this may be difficult if the skin of the baby is dark, In this case, advised squeezing a little on the front of the baby or nose by finger, The skin will appear in yellow once the finger removed if the baby has jaundice.

Other symptoms that accompanied by jaundice in newborns are inactivity and lack of movement, lack of breastfeeding, and crying hard.

Part four: Complications of jaundice in neonates

 the level of jaundice increases, indirect bilirubin can enter the nervous system and cause nerve damage, The baby may suffer from retardation, deafness, movement disorders and muscle tension, disturbances in the movement of eyeballs, and improper teeth.

Part Five: When do you need to call your doctor?

The following signs or symptoms may indicate severe jaundice or complications from the extreme bilirubin level, Call your doctor if:


  1. The baby’s skin became yellower than a normal level.
  2. Yellow the baby’s skin in the abdomen, arms, or legs more.
  3. The whites of the eyes became yellower than normal levels.
  4. If your child seems to be idle, tired, or having trouble waking up.
  5. If he does not gain any weight gain or have difficulty feeding him/her.
  6. If he always cries out loud.
  7. If you have any other signs or symptoms to worry about.

Part Sex: Jaundice diagnosis

The doctor will probably diagnose infant jaundice based on the baby’s external appearance However, it is still important to measure the level of bilirubin in the baby’s blood, The level of bilirubin (the severity of jaundice) will determine the treatment plan, Tests that detect jaundice and measure bilirubin include:


  1. Physical examination.
  2. A skin test using a device called (the bilirubin across the skin).
  3. Your doctor may ask you for additional blood or urine tests if there is evidence that your baby has jaundice due to an underlying disorder.

Part Seven: The cure of infants jaundice:

Simple infant jaundice disappears within two or three weeks. In the case of moderate or severe jaundice, the child needs to remain in the hospital or return to treatment.

Methods of treatment used to reduce the level of bilirubin in the blood of infants:

  • 1- Phototherapy:

Your child is placed under a special lamp that emits light in the blue-green spectrum, This light changes the shape and composition of bilirubin particles in a way that helps the body expel them with urine and feces.

  • 2- Injection of intravenous immunoglobulin:

Jaundice may be related to different blood types between mother and child, In this case, the child’s body carries antibodies from the mother, which causes a rapid breakdown of the red blood cells, The injection of intravenous immunoglobulin reduces the antibody ratio. Therefore; jaundice will be reduced.

  • 3- Transfer blood for replacement:

In rare cases, severe jaundice does not respond to treatment, and the child needs to replace his/her entire blood by transferring new blood to him/her, In this process, small amounts of the baby’s blood are withdrawn and replaced with other samples of blood transfused, thereby reducing the concentration of bilirubin and antibodies in the blood, this is done in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Part Eight: Lifestyle and home remedies.

If the baby’s jaundice is not severe, your doctor may recommend changes in feeding habits that can reduce bilirubin levels, Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about how much your child is feeding, how often, or if you have a problem with breastfeeding, The following steps may help relieve jaundice:


  1. 1- Feeding more frequently:

Feed your baby by more milk, this causes more bowel movements, increasing the amount of bilirubin that gets rid of your baby’s feces; Babies who breastfeed should eat 8 to 12 feeds per day for the first few days of their lives. Children who bottle-feed should normally consume one to two ounces (about 30 to 60 milliliters) of formula milk every two to three hours throughout the first week.


  • 2- Supplementary feeding:

If your child has a problem with breastfeeding, losing weight, or suffering from dehydration, your doctor may suggest giving your child formula milk or breast milk withdrawn from the breast as a supplement to breastfeeding, In some cases, your doctor may recommend using formula milk alone for a few days, then resume breastfeeding, Consult your doctor about appropriate feeding options for your child.

In summary, don’t worry when you see your baby body’s become yellow; it’s usually disappeared without complications and needs medical attention and your care.
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