What are the Causes of Jaundice In Newborns and Its Treatments

What Causes Jaundice in Newborns?

Jaundice is a condition common in infants because their livers are not mature enough to remove the bilirubin from the blood. Physiologic jaundice is the most common type of jaundice in infants. Mothers who happen to have Diabetes Mellitus may be the main cause of jaundice in newborns.

Here are some causes of neonatal jaundice:

  • Biliary atresia

  • Disorders such as Gilbert syndrome,┬áDubin-Johnson syndrome

  • Jaundice that is caused by breast feeding

  • Internal bleeding

  • Blood infection

  • Deficiency with an enzyme

  • Infections caused by a virus

  • Infections caused by bacteria

  • Excessive bilirubin level

  • Mild injuries from birth process

Symptoms of Jaundice in Newborns

On the fourth day afterbirth these signs and symptoms may appear:

  • Yellowish skin on the chest, legs, arms, abdomen- this can be seen by pressing the finger gently onto the skin.

  • Yellowish sclera

  • Tiredness and sleeping most of the time

  • Poor feeding

  • Dark urine

  • Drowsiness

  • Hyperthermia

  • Whitish stool

  • Shill cry- if severe

  • Irritable- if severe

  • Arches the body backwards- if severe

Photo Therapy Treatment for Jaundice in Newborns

In order to treat jaundice, the main goal is to decrease the level of bilirubin.

However, infants that have mild jaundice do not have to be treated. Jaundice is common to infants that were born premature. Doctors use special colored lights also known as phototherapy to treat jaundice.

Photo Therapy

  • This is the common method used to treat jaundice.

  • Photo therapy can be done at home especially when the baby is healthy and if the baby does not have any complications.

  • Phototherapy uses light to penetrate the skin and converts billirubin to photobillirubin.

  • Babies who are treated with the method of phototherapy should have more skin exposed to light.

  • Babies should wear diapers only if permitted and an eye patch to cover and protect the eyes.

  • A safety measure must be given as to the amount of heat the light or bulb gives. Excessive light or heat might burn the skin of the baby.

  • Phototherapy blankets are available if needed in some cases.

  • The process should be continuous having only feeding as a break. However, it also have some side effects like presence of skin rashes and loose bowel movement. But these effects are just temporary.

Other Treatments:

  • Breast feeding. Frequent breast milk feeding can help infants pass the bilirubin in their stools.

  • In rare cases, blood transfusion may be required.