Jaundice refers to the discoloration of a newborn’s skin and eyes, causing them to turn a yellow color. This happens when a baby’s blood contains too much bilirubin, a pigment that is created when red blood cells break down. While most cases of newborn jaundice are minor and clear up on their own, some are more severe, causing health problems and requiring treatment. Here is what you need to know about newborn jaundice.
A baby’s liver is supposed to filter excess bilirubin out of the blood on its own. Jaundice occurs in newborns because their organs are sometimes unable to keep up when they aren’t developed enough. Premature babies are at a higher risk of newborn jaundice for that reason. Newborn jaundice doesn’t always show up right after birth, sometimes taking a few days to show up.
As mentioned before, bilirubin is a pigment that’s created when red blood cells break down. Everyone has some amount of this in their bodies, but too much is what leads to jaundice. If levels are to an extreme, it can even cause brain damage, which is referred to as Kernicterus. A doctor can perform a blood test to determine bilirubin levels in a baby’s body. The results will determine if the baby needs treatment or if it’s a mild case that will go away on its own.
Aside from being premature, there are other factors that can put babies at a higher risk of getting newborn jaundice. Here are just a few:
- Bruising During Birth: When a person gets bruises, it causes more of a breakdown of red blood cells at the location of the brusie. A vacuum extraction or forceps delivery can increase the chances of bruising during birth, therefore increasing the risk of newborn jaundice.
- Different Blood Type Than Mother: Babies typically get antibodies through the mother’s placenta. However, if they don’t have the same blood type, it could cause red blood cells to break down faster than normal.
- Breastfeeding: Though it is recommended to breastfeed your baby because of the many health benefits it has, breastfeeding makes it easier for the baby to become dehydrated or not take in enough calories. This increases the risk of newborn jaundice.
Has Your Child Suffered Injuries as a Result of Newborn Jaundice? Contact The Snyder Law Group Today
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