Newborn jaundice is that slight discoloration of a baby's skin that gives him or her a yellow glow. Jaundice is relatively common in newborns, and is caused by having too much bilirubin in the blood. What is the treatment for newborn jaundice and is treatment actually necessary? Are there different causes of newborn jaundice? Let's take a look at the facts.
Different types of jaundice
Physiologic jaundice is the most common reason for jaundice in newborn babies. It is caused by the baby's liver being immature and no other factors are at play. This type of jaundice is not dangerous and resolves by itself. With neonatal jaundice, there is can be an incompatibility between maternal and fetal blood type, and the mother's antibodies start to attack the baby's blood cells. The mother can also be diabetic, or have certain sexually transmitted diseases. Yellowish babies don't have to have jaundice this skin color can also be caused by carotenemia, caused by eating many yellowish vegetables and fruits.
If the baby is under proper care of a doctor and the cause of jaundice has been determined, treatment is not always necessary at all. Make sure to look out for symptoms like fever and breathing difficulties, which new parents should be watchful for in any case. When treatment is necessary, it is usually done in the form of either exposing the baby to sunlight or administering phototherapy to help the baby's body break down bilirubin. This is happening to the baby in the picture above. Where there are other underlying causes of newborn jaundice, specialized care and even a blood transfusion are necessary.
That is why it is important to be aware of underlying causes of jaundice, and to be sure that your baby is in a situation where he or she can receive adequate medical care. This will usually be provided in a hospital setting. If you gave birth at home on at a birth center, make sure to see a pediatrician as soon as possible, within a day or two after birth.