T's Space

Treatment Of Neonatal Jaundice

Jaundice is a yellow discoloration of the skin, the mucous membrane and the white of the eyes.

All newborns have a certain degree of this condition. Jaundice is due to excessive serum bilirubin in the blood. Once he is born, a newborn baby starts to use his lungs to breathe. Excessive red blood cells, present in large quantities in the foetal

circulation that carry oxygen break down, releasing sub-products known as serum bilirubin,

which is usually disposed off by the liver and passes out through the bowels. Some babies are unable to handle such disposal, leading to jaundice. Premature and Asian infants have higher levels of serum bilirubin compared to their Caucasian counterparts.

As such, neonatal jaundice is very common in Singapore.

Neonatal jaundice becomes noticeable from the third day and peaks around the six

day, gradually disappearing after 10 days. It is harmless unless the levels are high.

SOME CAUSES OF JAUNDICE IN BABIES Jaundice in babies can be caused by any

of the following.

• Pre-maturity

• G6PD [glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase) deficiency, a

permanent condition where red blood cells break down too easily when exposed to certain trigger agents.

• Sepsis infection where the baby becomes infected

• ABO incompatibility, a blood group incompatibility that is fairly infrequent but, if present, can cause rapid and severe jaundice in babies

• Physiologic jaundice

• Breastfeeding jaundice

• Breast milk jaundice – Both viral and bacterial infections can lead to the breakdown of red blood cells.

Umbilical cord infection, septicaemia and even pyelonephritis can also lead to jaundice.


Phototherapy is a safe and effective way of treating mild jaundice.

This treatment is administered as a special micro-blue wavelength light condensed and

manufactured specifically for this purpose. It is emitted from a fluorescent light tube.

The principle behind the treatment is that the light has the ability to break serum bilirubin [unconjugated bilirubin)

down to conjugated bilirubin and then flush it out with the baby’s stools. The treatment is painless.

Your baby is left naked except for a diaper in order to maximize the area of exposure to the blue light. His eyes are

covered for protection. During

phototherapy, your baby may be a little dehydrated so extra feeds may be needed.

If your doctor has advised sunbathing for your jaundiced baby, expose him to indirect sunlight for not more than 20 minutes as baby skin is very tender and sunburn can occur very easily. Expose your baby only to the morning sun (and indirectly) when there is less heat.

Remember to shield his eyes from the sun during sunbathing and turn him every five minutes. You may give your baby some water in between milk feeds as dehydration may occur.


In severe cases, where the level is higher than 350 p.mol/1, jaundice can cause brain damage in a baby [kernictems).

This can lead to irreparable damage of his psychomotor functions, mental retardation and even death. If you notice the usual symptoms of jaundice—yellow discolouration of the skin, palms and white of the eyes—but accompanied by nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and sometimes passing of dark-coloured urine and poor feeding due to severe lethargy,

bring your baby to a doctor immediately.

Early treatment is essential and may save his life. Never attempt self-medication. In such cases, phototherapy alone is usually ineffective and a blood exchange

transfusion may be required if the levels are too high.


G6PD deficiency is one of the causes of jaundice. It is caused by a genetic linkage where the mother is a carrier and the condition is manifested in her son. Approximately 50% of her offspring is affected if the mother is G6PD deficient.

If your child is G6PD deficient, it is important to remember that while the condition lasts for life, he can still lead a normal healthy lifestyle with the following precautions.

• Do not use mothballs on his clothes and beddings as they can trigger a rapid breakdown of his red blood cells.

• Avoid giving him certain traditional Chinese herbs and fava beans (bian dou) as they can also trigger a rapid breakdown of his red blood cells.

• Do not attempt self-medication.

• Avoid certain medications if you are breastfeeding. Consult your doctor to find out the types of medicines you

should avoid.


This condition refers to the mother and the baby’s incompatible blood groups. If the mother is Blood Group 0 and the baby

is A, B or AB, a factor from the mother’s blood can cross over the placenta and cause breaking down of the baby’s blood

cells. This also applies to Rhesus incompatibility where the mother is Rhesus negative and the baby is Rhesus Positive. In such cases, the red blood cells break down rapidly, leading to jaundice. This normally appears within 24 hours but is rarely severe. In very severe cases, blood exchange transfusions are needed.

Read more about woman’s health and parenting at : [http://health.mybestparentingtips.com] .

Source by Chris Lakatos

Tagged: , , ,

Got something to say? Click here to reply

Leave a Reply