What is Newborn Jaundice?
How your pediatricians in Kansas City, MO, can help with jaundice
The pediatricians here at Pediatric Care North in Kansas City, MO, offers a wide range of pediatric services to keep your baby healthy, including treatment for jaundice. Newborn jaundice is caused by an excess amount of yellow pigment, called bilirubin, showing up in red blood cells of your newborn baby. It is most often seen in preterm babies born before 38 weeks, and it can also be seen in babies that are breastfed. Jaundice occurs when a newborn’s liver isn’t functioning well enough to remove the bilirubin in your baby’s blood.
A common sign of jaundice is a yellowed appearance on the skin and whites of the eyes. Typically, these signs occur 2 to 4 days after birth. The Mayo Clinic recommends an excellent way to check for jaundice in your newborn: gently press on your newborn’s nose or forehead, and if the skin looks yellow, your baby has jaundice. In babies without jaundice, the skin color should just look a shade lighter than normal and then return to its original color. Make sure you have good lighting conditions to check for jaundice (natural daylight is best).
Jaundice can be mild or severe, so you should bring your newborn to a pediatrician if you notice:
Increased yellowing of the skin or eyes
Abdominal, arm, or leg skin yellowing
Difficulty waking your baby
Listlessness, sickness, or lack of weight gain
High-pitched crying or difficulty feeding
Mild jaundice often goes away on its own however severe jaundice can cause serious complications including brain damage. At Pediatric Care North, they offer several effective treatments for jaundice, including:
Light therapy (aka phototherapy): Your newborn is placed under a lamp, which changes the bilirubin to make elimination of excess bilirubin easier.
Intravenous Immunoglobulin (aka IVIg): Immunoglobulin is transfused intravenously to help decrease jaundice by reducing the levels of antibodies that breakdown red blood cells.
Newborn jaundice is a common condition, and mild cases may go away without treatment. For severe cases of jaundice, it’s best to visit your pediatrician.
For more information about jaundice and other concerns with your newborn, call the pediatricians at Pediatric Care North in Kansas City, MO. Dial (816) 587-3200 today!