What is jaundice in newborn babies?
Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes in newborn babies. It is caused by raised levels in the blood and tissues of bilirubin, a yellowish pigment found in bile.
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The main symptom of jaundice is a yellow colouring of the skin and the whites of the eyes. Other symptoms can include unexpected levels of drowsiness, problems with feeding, light-coloured stools and dark urine.
Most cases of jaundice in newborn babies are caused by excess bilirubin in the blood, as the baby's liver is temporarily unable to break down all the bilirubin. The excess bilirubin normally clears within a week or two. In some cases, however, …
Around three of every five (60%) full-term babies and four of every five (80%) premature babies show some signs of jaundice.
Jaundice in newborn babies is diagnosed by a physical examination of the baby. In some cases, a blood test (performed via a heel prick test) may be recommended to measure the level of bilirubin in the blood.
Most babies do not need treatment for jaundice beyond monitoring and making sure they are feeding well. If necessary, phototherapy may be recommended. In this treatment the baby is exposed to a special blue light that helps to break down the …
In most cases, the jaundice will clear on its own. However, when a serious underlying medical condition is causing the baby's jaundice, treatment will usually be needed.
Ensuring a baby is feeding well can help to prevent or treat jaundice, as bilirubin is excreted through stools and urine. If you are experiencing difficulty with your baby's feeding, seek advice from a doctor, midwife or …