One of the first things your newborn is checked for after birth is Jaundice. But, what exactly, is Jaundice?
Though yellowing of the skin is the most commonly identified indicator for Jaundice, settling in with a newborn drives a need-to-know desire in all new mothers. So, what do we know, and do you need to worry?
The Science: Jaundice refers to the body’s inability to expel Bilirubin through the liver quickly enough. In babies, the liver’s natural processes can take a while to regularize causing Bilirubin to build-up under the skin.
Cause for concern: Your newborn is just that, new. If your newborn’s skin tone doesn’t begin to improve after 4-5 days, you should seek treatment.
How is it diagnosed?
Your baby will be checked shortly after birth through a blood test. With a tiny needle prick to the heel, your baby’s doctor will check for Bilirubin levels in the blood. Though there is a less invasive test to be done; checking the levels through the skin, it is often the case that both tests will be conducted to ensure your child’s well-being.
It is commonplace for newborns to suffer from Jaundice, simply because it takes a few days for the body to work independently from your womb.
Risk Factors: Of course, there are instances where a baby’s Jaundice can be more severe, and will require an extended period of monitoring and/or treatment.
How is it treated?
Jaundice is easily treated. Using light therapy, your baby is placed under special lights to help convert bilirubin into a more easily expelled substance.
When to worry:
In some cases, severe levels of Bilirubin can damage the brain and hearing. To ensure your baby’s welfare, continuous monitoring and advice from your doctor will ease both yours and your newborn’s suffering. However, your newborn’s Bilirubin levels can be tested again to ensure a healthy recovery.
As a mother, your intuition should never be ignored. If you feel your baby isn’t improving, do not hesitate to seek medical attention.