- The Causes of Jaundice in Newborns
- Symptoms of Jaundice in Babies
- Types of Jaundice in Newborns and Babies
- Treatment Jaundice in Newborns
- Jaundice in Newborns: Implications and Complications
What is Jaundice in Newborns
The jaundice in newborns is the physiological disorder which is shown in such symptoms: the child's skin and mucosa get yellowing, and white part of the eyes may have yellow discoloration.
The Causes of Jaundice in Newborns
When the fetus was in mother's womb, it produced fetal hemoglobin and received necessary oxygen through the umbilical cord. After the birth, the organism of the newborn child begins to produce intensively the adult's hemoglobin with a full-fledged sigh, breaking at the same time the fetal hemoglobin, and forming pigment bilirubin which gives to the skin yellow color.
The liver is concerned partly with bringing bilirubin out of the child's organism, but it doesn't still function fully therefore bilirubin starts accumulating in the organism. As a result, the newborn’s jaundice manifests itself some time after the birth.
Coming to a full-fledged rhythm of functioning, the liver begins to work and to bring the remained bilirubin out of the child's organism more intensively. Process of the organism cleaning from bilirubin takes 2-3 weeks then skin and mucous of the child’s eyes are back to something like normal and healthy. But, unfortunately, there are also exceptions when the full treatment is needed.
Symptoms of Jaundice in Babies
The main and indicative symptom of any type of jaundice is discoloration of dermal and mucous integuments, whites of the eyes. They become bright yellow, almost lemon color. When more than two weeks pass, and integuments of the child’s body haven't gained normal color, it is worth seeing a doctor. Before treating jaundice the analysis for bilirubin level in blood must be appointed.
Level of bilirubin depends on many factors and it is impossible to interpret results of analyses unambiguously. The doctor will draw conclusions on a state of the child’s health upon the overall picture of a state of health. Symptoms of pathological types of jaundice are shown in discoloration of integuments.
Differences consist in time of their emergence and some features of implication, such as:
- discoloration of skin appears right after the birth;
- yellow color becomes brighter in three-four days, and all symptoms amplify;
- yellowness of integuments remains more than one month;
- symptoms of jaundice has an undulating character: they would appear, then disappear;
- skin color can get also a green shade besides yellow one.
Plus other symptoms are added to discoloration of integuments:
- faeces is discolored;
- urine has dark color;
- some blotches may appear spontaneously;
- liver and spleen are enlarge;
- the state of child’s health worsens.
Types of Jaundice in Newborns and Babies
The causes of jaundice are clear, but why then, removing bilirubin from the organism is complicated? And whether this feature is pathology or whether this is a norm for children? The doctors have answered this difficult question with all confidence. And, it is a pity, but such state when jaundice arises in the child, can have not only the norm. It can be a signal of terrible and dangerous disease. In other words jaundice can be divided on pathological and physiological forms.
Diseases when the symptom of jaundice is pathology:
- hemolytic disease;
- mechanical icterus.
Diseases when there is a symptom of jaundice, but they are not pathologies yet:
- physiological icterus;
- breast milk jaundice;
- neonatal jaundice.
Consider the most dangerous types of jaundice, such as pathological diseases, in more detail. It is reassuring to know that these diseases occur less often than physiological types. The distinctive moment is that at the pathological course of the disease there would be additional symptoms besides the jaundice form. So, the child may have also other symptoms.
The statistics of this disease among newborns is 1%. Why the child has such pathology, what are the reasons of a hemolytic illness?
They are may be as:
- rhesus factor conflict between the child’s and the mother’s blood;
- mismatch of blood types;
- the most rare reason is incompatibility of anti-genes.
At such disease yellowing of the child’s skin integuments occurs promptly, as soon as the baby is born. They become bright yellow, almost lemon color. But that is good that it is possible to recognize such illness at once. And treatment also begins at once, in maternity hospital, to not exacerbate a state of health, because the child is rather sluggish already. And during the checkup the doctor will certainly find that liver and spleen are enlarged.
Such form of jaundice meets very seldom, but nevertheless is carried in the list of pathological diseases, and therefore its causes are worth knowing.
They are as following:
- problems with the child’s liver;
- broken conductivity of biliary tract;
- disorders in gall bladder.
It often comes in two or even three weeks. A small difference in color is usually noticed. If at other types of jaundice the skin color is just yellow, then at mechanical icterus it would appear a greenish shade against yellow. The stool also changes at the time of emergence of the illness symptoms. The child’s excrements and dejecture will be almost without coloring. Definition of this type of jaundice requires ultrasonic investigation. During the checkup the doctor will find that spleen is enlarged and liver is hardened. And the doctor prescribes treatment depending on pathology.
It should be noted also such disease as conjugated jaundice. The illness can arise at the prolonged course of usual jaundice which wasn't considered as pathology before. The conjugated jaundice is connected with the worsened functioning of liver.
Kernicterus. It may occur at sharp rise of bilirubin level during the course of neonatal jaundice. Bilirubin has a baneful effect on nervous system. Hepatic jaundice. It occur when there is an affection of hepatic cells. They can be affected by both a virus, and a bacterium.
All scientists have come to a conclusion that such type of jaundice belongs to the normal state of health and occurs owing to underdeveloped functioning of newborn baby’s bodies, and that is norm. But anyway such state also requires attention and supervision.
Breast Milk Jaundice
It is a variant of physiological jaundice. The case is exceptional, but it is possible to meet it in practice. It happens because of the increased content of women's hormone known as estrogen in mother’s milk. Such milk is received by the newborn baby when breastfeeding. The small organism starts fight against the hormone and brings it out instead of removing bilirubin. Such situation results in yellowness of integuments and the child remains with such color for three months. In general such disease doesn't affect the child’s organism and doesn’t hinder infant development. So, such type of jaundice passes by itself.
Many can just account this disease as the reason for which mother can't feed her child with breast milk. But it is wrong opinion as mother milk has nevertheless much more advantages itself. And if the disease isn't dangerous to the child, it makes worthwhile to not limit him in advantages of breast feeding.
It closes the chain of physiological jaundices. This disease also belongs to the most widespread of jaundice types peculiar to newborns. And it doesn't demand treatment and passes by itself, too.
Treatment Jaundice in Newborns
Treatment of the jaundice depends directly on complexity and intensity of its course.
A number of recommendations about the treatment of jaundice seen in children:
- mother's colostrum - is the first means in fight against the jaundice in newborn. Colostrum has the expressed laxative effect, helping to remove bilirubin from the child's organism with fecal excretion;
- solar baths - is also effective method of fight against jaundice which is very simple and available. When walking in a warm and sunny weather along the street with the child, it is possible to bare baby’s hands and legs, having allowed sunshine to warm up the skin. If the weather does not allow it, then it is enough to place baby’s carrycot by a window. It should be noted that glass doesn’t miss all sunbeams, but the necessary result will after all be achieved;
- artificial sunlight quartz lamp – is the perfect substitute of sunshine. Usually this procedure should be carried out with the permission of the doctor, and it is better – under his supervision. For achievement of a better result it is necessary to hold at least 10 sessions;
- activated charcoal and glucose - are prescribed newborns in case if jaundice has the expressed character. Glucose helps the liver to bring bilirubin out of the organism, and charcoal binds it in the intestine and removes together with fecal excretion;
- blood transfusion - is a cardinal way of treatment of children’s jaundice. Use it only if in the child's organism the bilirubin indicator considerably exceeds the established norm.
Jaundice in Newborns: Implications and Complications
As it was already mentioned above, the jaundice is the physiological disorder which has to pass independently, without consequent effects and complications.
But there are exceptions which are caused by the following factors:
- child’s rhesus factor and blood type are different from mother’s ones;
- congenital pathologies at the child;
- bile outflow disorder;
- injuries of liver received in mother's womb.
The listed number of factors leads to development of pathological jaundice which treatment can't be provided without medical intervention. Such child’s jaundice can pass within several months, giving the baby’s skin not just yellowish, but rather greenish shade. And the spleen can increase in size considerably.
The pathological jaundice can lead to such complications:
- toxic poisoning of brain and nervous system that may even cause a lethal outcome;
- development of albuminemia which causes high content of bilirubin in blood and, as consequence, termination of albumin production;
- penetration of bilirubin into the brain leads not only to development of deafness in newborn, but also to backwardness and to commencement of convulsions.
So, the causes of appearance of jaundice in newborns have been listed above, as well as possible consequences of this disease and methods of fight against it. It will allow even to young and inexperienced mother to calm down and deal with problems which can arise in the first month of life of the newborn child.
Video: Signs of Jaundice in Newborn