Doctors at Paras Bliss Hospital, Panchkula Give Tips on How Jaundice at Birth can be Dealt With
Panchkula, July 2017: Jaundice (clinically known as neonatal hyperbilirubinemia), is a common medical condition that may develop in newborns within the first two to five days after birth. It occurs due to high levels of bilirubin in the body (a waste product created from the breakdown of blood containing proteins present particularly in red blood cells).
When the baby is growing in the mother's womb, theplacenta removes bilirubin from body, as a result of which in most newborns’bilirubin levels tends to be on the higher front, immediately after birth.Estimates suggest that around 60% of full-term newborns get affected byjaundice, starting from second or third day of their birth. If not treated fora long time, infant jaundice can lead to potentially serious complications andeven severe brain damage later on.
Dr. Manu Sharma, Consultant Neonatology,Paras Bliss Hospital, Panchkula says “Infantscan suffer from jaundice immediately after birth, thus making their skin turnyellow. The life spans of newborn red blood cells are usually less as comparedto adults, and the liver is also immature to handle an increased bilirubinload. This results in imbalance between bilirubin production and excretionleading to jaundice. In general, full-term babies are less susceptible as comparedto premature babies, when it comes to development of jaundice at a very earlystage. A reason behind this could be that a newborn baby's growing liver mightnot be able to remove enough bilirubin from blood, or the intestine tends toabsorb bilirubin more widely. While many parents take jaundice at birthlightly, it must be underlined that this disease can lead to internal bleeding,liver problems, infections, and other complications in future. While there isno sure way to completely prevent jaundice, but knowing the risk factors mayhelp to determine what can be done to stay prepared and protect your littleone,”
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendsthat all newborn babies should be examined for jaundice every time their vitalstatistics are measured (or at least every 8 to 12 hours), before dischargefrom the hospital after birth, and again a few days after the discharge.
Here are the other advisory steps for parents todeal with jaundice at birth for their babies:
1. Identifying risk factors –Certainblood incompatibilities can cause more blood to break down, producing morebilirubin such as:
• Mothers with Rh negative and O+ blood group
•Genetic enzyme deficiencies, such asglucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency
2. Reducing the risk of a pre-term birth -Babies born before 37 weeks are at an increased risk of developing jaundice.The liver of a preterm baby is less developed than that of a full-term baby,making it even more difficult to eliminate bilirubin. Some pre-term riskfactors, such as age or multiple births cannot be remedied. Other environmentalrisks can be:
• Early and consistent prenatal care can ensurethat the baby stays as healthy as possible during the pregnancy
• Chemical contaminants such as tobacco, alcohol,street drugs, and some medications can increase your chances of preterm birthhence to be avoided
•Stress is also a major risk for preterm birth, henceto be avoided
3. Begin breastfeeding early –It has been observed that mothers who begin breastfeeding within the first fewhours after a birth are more likely to succeed than those who wait. Moreover,the colostrum a mother produces early, prompts the baby’s digestive system toeliminate waste, which helps to expel excess bilirubin from the intestines.
4. Feeding the baby frequently -A steady supply of milk helps in increasing the newborn’s weight anddevelopment, including the development of the liver. This is true for bothbreastfed and formula fed babies. Ideally, newborns should be fed every 2 hoursor at least 8 to 12 times a day.