Jaundice is a fairly common occurrence in newborn babies. Jaundice in newborn babies occurs when there is excess bilirubin (hyperbilirubinemia) which is a yellow tinged component of red blood cell in baby’s blood. This causes the skin, and sometimes the whites of the eyes, to appear yellow. Bilirubin levels are naturally highest 3-5 days after birth, so it’s most common for jaundice to occur within 5 days of birth. Jaundice affects an estimated 60% of full-term babies and 80% of preterm babies, and it’s more commonly seen in breastfed infants.
- It typically occurs because the newborn liver is immature and not functioning at its peak.
Less common causes
- An infection.
- Baby’s blood is incompatible with the mother’s, causing a reaction.
- Problems with the digestive system.
- Internal bleeding from birth injuries like cephalohematoma.
- Liver malfunction
- Certain gene mutations, like Gilbert Syndrome.
- Premature birth: A baby born before 38 weeks may not be able to process bilirubin as quickly as full-term babies do. They feed less and have fewer bowel movements, resulting in less bilirubin eliminated through stool.
- Significant bruising during birth: newborn gets bruises from the delivery, may have a higher level of bilirubin from the breakdown of more red blood cells.
- Blood type: If the mother’s blood type is different from her baby’s, the baby may have received antibodies through the placenta that cause blood cells to break down more quickly.
- Breast-feeding: Breast-fed babies, particularly who have difficulty nursing or getting enough nutrition from breast-feeding, are at higher risk of jaundice. Dehydration or a low-calorie intake may contribute to the onset of jaundice. However, because of the benefits of breast-feeding, experts still recommend it. It’s important to make sure your baby gets enough to eat and is adequately hydrated.
Mild jaundice in newborn babies
- Extreme weakness
- Pale stools
- Dark urine
- Trouble feeding
Moderate to severe jaundice in newborn babies
- Baby’s skin gets increasingly yellow
- The whites of the eyes are yellow
- The baby is lethargic or listless
- Has trouble eating
- Baby has lost more than 10% of his birth weight
- Jaundice lasts for 3 weeks or more
Acute bilirubin encephalopathy: Bilirubin is toxic to cells of the brain. If a baby has severe jaundice, there’s a risk of bilirubin passing into the brain, a condition called acute bilirubin encephalopathy.
The following may indicate acute bilirubin encephalopathy in a baby with jaundice:
- Listlessness or difficulty waking
- High-pitched crying
- Poor sucking or feeding
- Backward arching of the neck and body
Kernicterus: it is a syndrome that occurs if acute bilirubin encephalopathy causes permanent damage to the brain.
Kernicterus may result in:
- Involuntary and uncontrolled movements (athetoid cerebral palsy)
- Permanent upward gaze
- Hearing loss
- Improper development of tooth enamel
Visual examination: They need to be undressed during this so their skin can be looked at under good, preferably natural, light.
Other things that may also be checked include:
- the whites of your baby’s eyes
- your baby’s gums
- the color of your baby’s urine
- A small device called a bilirubinometer: which shines light on to your baby’s skin (it calculates the level of bilirubin by analyzing how the light reflects off or is absorbed by the skin)
- A blood test: sample of blood taken by pricking your baby’s heel with a needle (the level of bilirubin in the liquid part of the blood called the serum is then measured).
The blood is analysed to determine:
- The baby’s blood group (this is to see if it’s incompatible with the mother’s)
- Whether any antibodies (infection-fighting proteins) are attached to the baby’s red blood cells
- The number of cells in the baby’s blood
- Whether there’s any infection
- Whether there’s an enzyme deficiency
Homeopathic medicine for jaundice in newborns
- One of the most effective Homeopathic medicines for jaundice in newborns.
- Yellow pigmentation of the skin and a slow pulse.
- Effective remedy for infantile jaundice.
- The babies are irritable and constipated.
- The belly rumbles and is full of gas.
- The irritability and colic are worse from 4 pm to 8 pm.
- Indicated for jaundice caused by difficult traumatic birth.
- The baby is bruised or swollen.
- Arnica is given immediately after a difficult to prevent jaundice from developing.
- Used for jaundice that appears acutely and suddenly.
- It is used especially if mother or baby is suffering shock after a difficult or unexpectedly short labour.
- A specific remedy for infant jaundice.
- Jaundice immediately after birth.
- A prominent liver and jaundice remedy in which there is marked lethargy and sluggish bowels.
- An effective remedy for infant jaundice.
- It should be given when the jaundice is not cured within one week.
- Good remedy for infant jaundice.
- It should be given after Merc. sol