JAUNDICE IN NEW BORN BABIES – Frequently Asked Questions By Parents

Jaundice is a yellow discoloration of a newborn baby’s skin and eyes. Jaundice in newborn babies is a common condition and occurs because the baby’s blood contains an excess of bilirubin a yellow pigment of destroyed red blood cells.

Why newborn babies develop jaundice?

Jaundice usually occurs in almost all newborn babies on the day 2 and day 3 of life because a baby’s liver isn’t mature enough to get rid of bilirubin in the bloodstream. We call it physiological jaundice. It increases for a few days and then gradually clears in a week as the liver function matures.

Do all the babies with jaundice need treatment?

Most of the babies need no treatment for jaundice. Rarely, an unusually high blood level of bilirubin can place a newborn at risk of brain damage, particularly in the presence of certain risk factors for severe jaundice. To prevent this brain and hearing damage we have to treat the jaundice.

How to prevent jaundice related brain damage?

All newborn babies routinely examined for jaundice at least every 12 hours while in the hospital. If your baby is getting discharged earlier than 72 hours we can test their jaundice levels before discharge and decide about treatment or make a follow-up appointment to look for jaundice depending on the levels.

How do we treat jaundice?

All babies do not need treatment. Only babies with high values need treatment. We keep babies under phototherapy (special wavelength light) for few days. This light will do the work of liver and clears jaundice in a few days. As the days pass by the liver also matures and takes care of jaundice.

Are there any side effects of phototherapy?

No, there are no side effects related to phototherapy, it is very safe.

Can we use tubelight or sunlight for treatment?

Absolutely no. They will not work because they do not have required special wavelength. If the jaundice levels are high the baby’s brain gets damaged if you try these things when they require proper treatment.

What should the mother eat when the baby has jaundice?

No diet restrictions are there for the mothers. She can have her regular diet and that helps the production of breast milk. Adequate feeding of the baby is one of the most important things in the management of the babies jaundice.

Dr K Seshagiri
MD, DM
Chief Neonatologist
Giggles by OMNI

Dr M Srinivasa Reddy
MD, DM
Consultant Neonatologist
Giggles by OMNI

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