Jaundice in newborns is very common. As long as it is detected in the hospital and taken care of it is harmless. Jaundice is the yellowing of skin and discoloration of eyes. A high bilirubin count is the cause of jaundice in newborns.
What is bilirubin?
Bilirubin is the substance that is created during the normal breakdown of old red blood cells. When an infant is first born, getting rid of those old red blood cells is top priority for the baby’s body, which is done in the liver. This is also why it is so important for a baby to have his first bowel movement soon after birth. When the bilirubin gets too high and the baby is unable to get rid of it, it starts to create that yellow tint in the baby’s skin.
How to detect jaundice in newborns
Most hospitals will do a bilirubin test when a baby is born to check the level of the bilirubin substance in his blood system. If it is too high, they will start treatment right away. If a hospital does not run this test, there are some ways that you can see for yourself.
- Jaundice in newborns will cause the skin to look yellowish or a deep orange colour
- You will also notice that your babies eyes will have a slight yellow tint to them.
- If you notice any of these things ask your doctor about it immediately. While jaundice is treatable, if caught right away, an undetected case of jaundice may cause irreversible damage to your baby’s liver.
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How to treat jaundice in newborns
Find out how to treat baby jaundice on the next page…