If you’re an expectant mother and have concerns about your newborn developing jaundice, you first need to know what this might mean. We’re here to give you the facts and possibly uncover many truths about jaundice that you may not know about.
We’re professionals in newborn care at Northeast Pediatric Associates PA. Our team can make your transition from pregnancy to having a newborn as easy and stress-free as possible. Here’s what we want you to know about jaundice.
Everyone’s blood has bilirubin, which is a yellow-colored pigment made when your red blood cells break down. Your liver then removes that bilirubin.
Before birthing your child, your liver takes care of this action for your baby. Once your baby is born, it takes a few days for their liver to remove bilirubin on its own. During this timeframe, they can develop what’s called physiologic jaundice, which usually resolves on its own.
If your baby’s jaundice is caused by a disorder, the liver might not have the ability to process bilirubin like it should. If that’s the case, we need to determine the cause of your child’s jaundice and treat them.
Signs to look for
To see if your baby might have jaundice, bring them into daylight or under fluorescent light for the best visual. If you notice that your baby’s skin appears yellow, they might have jaundice.
Jaundice usually begins in the face and slowly moves down to the chest, abdomen, arms, and then legs if their bilirubin increases. You might also notice that the whites of their eyes become yellow.
You should schedule an appointment with us if your newborn:
- Acts or appears sick
- Doesn’t feed well
- Tends to need an excessive amount of sleep
- Has jaundice that seems to get worse
In addition, they might have dark urine and pale stools.
Know that jaundice is common in newborns
If you think your baby has jaundice, don’t panic. Many newborns have this condition. It typically appears within the first few days or weeks of their life, and it usually clears up quickly without treatment.
Your newborn should be tested before leaving the hospital or place of birth. If your baby is still jaundiced more than normal after a few days, bring your baby in to see us. We can check your child’s bilirubin level to determine if they need treatment.
Treatment for jaundice involves putting your baby under light. This treatment is called phototherapy used to lower their bilirubin levels. It’s only used if we consider your baby’s levels high enough to qualify for treatment.
For more serious cases of jaundice, your baby may need fluids, have an exchange blood transfusion (only needed if bilirubin levels don’t come down after phototherapy), or intravenous immunoglobulin to block antibodies that might attack their red blood cells and reduce their need for an exchange transfusion.
When it comes to treatment, the bottom line is that you should seek treatment early if their jaundice isn’t resolving itself within the first few days of their birth.
Don’t let the possibility of jaundice scare you. Simply watch for signs and know that we’re here to give your newborn superior care. To learn more, give us a call at the office nearest you in San Antonio, North Central San Antonio, Schertz, or Castroville, Texas, or schedule your visit online. We can also set up a telehealth appointment for you.