Jaundice of newborns

Jaundice of newborns occurs when a childelevated blood levels of bilirubin. Bilirubin is a yellow substance that the body creates to replace the old red blood cells. The liver helps to destroy it, after which it is removed with feces from the body of the child.

Because of the high level of bilirubin, the baby's skin, as well as the whites of the eyes become yellow. This condition began to be called "jaundice of newborns."


It is normal for a child when the bilirubin level is slightly higher for some time after birth.

This is due to the fact that when a baby grows inmaternal womb, the placenta removes bilirubin from its body. After birth, this function begins to perform the baby's liver, but sometimes in the early days it can not cope properly.

Most children have a slight yellowingskin - jaundice of newborns (alternative name - "physiological jaundice"). It is harmless, and sometimes it passes when the baby is 2 to 4 days old. In most cases this condition does not cause any problems.

In newborns who are breastfed, there may be two types of jaundice, which, as a rule, are absolutely harmless.

• Jaundice of breastfeeding manifests itself in the first days of life, especially in infants who lack mother's milk.

• Jaundice of breast milk may appearhealthy babies after the seventh day of life and last about 2 - 3 weeks. Its appearance can be associated with some substance in breast milk, which affects the destruction of bilirubin in the liver.

The severe form of jaundice in a newborn can take in such cases:

• Abnormal forms of blood cells.

• Rhesus-conflict.

• Bleeding under the scalp caused by difficult births.

• Increased level of red blood cells, which is more common in infants with small gestational age and twins.

• Various infections.

• Absence (deficiency) of important proteins, which are called enzymes.

In addition, complicating the excretion of bilirubin and lead to a more severe form of jaundice are such factors:

• Some types of medicines.

• Congenital infectious diseases, such as syphilis, rubella, etc.

• Diseases affecting the liver and biliary tract (hepatitis, cystic fibrosis).

• Reduced oxygen levels.

• Various genetic or hereditary diseases.

Children born prematurely also have a tendency to develop jaundice.


Jaundice causes yellowing of the skin and sclera. Lethargy, constant fatigue and poor appetite are also symptoms of a condition such as jaundice in newborns.


Treatment is usually not required. A child needs therapy if the bilirubin level is too high or too quickly.

Often and feed the child well. Frequent feeding (up to 12 times a day) is encouraged by frequent bowel movements, which help to remove bilirubin through the stool.

Some newborns are treated up todischarge from the hospital. Others may have to go back in a few days. Treatment in the hospital will take only 1 - 2 days. To do this, use special blue photolamps, which help to destroy bilirubin in the skin.

However, when the level of bilirubin is not very high, you can do phototherapy at home with a fiber optic blanket that is equipped with tiny bright bulbs.

In the most difficult cases of jaundice, a course of intravenous immunoglobulin can be prescribed.


Usually, jaundice of newborns is not harmful. Most children have it without treatment.

However, too high a level of bilirubin cancause irreversible brain damage. Such a disease is called nuclear jaundice. Therefore, timely diagnosis and treatment is essential to preserve your child's health and prevent such a dangerous disease.


Very rare, but serious and dangerous complications associated with too high a level of bilirubin:

• cerebral palsy.

• Deafness.

• Nuclear jaundice.

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