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Jaundice is defined as the yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes. It occurs as a result of increased bilirubin in the blood. It is very common among newborns, as their liver suddenly has to work to remove bilirubin (when it was in its mother's womb, it was the placenta that did it) and it often takes a while to do this.
The most common causes of jaundice in newborn babies are two:
- Physiological jaundice. It is mild, does not usually require income. It is secondary to hemolysis (this word means 'ruptured red blood cells') that normally appears in the first hours of life. It presents with jaundice between days 2 and 7 of life, approximately. It can be a bit more severe in premature newborns and generally does not require any treatment.
- Breast milk jaundice. It is also usually mild. It is produced because breast milk contains substances called 'pregnanes', which make it difficult to eliminate bilirubin. It begins at 7 days of life, and lasts until approximately one month.
Very high free bilirubin in the blood can be deposited in the brain, causing neurological problems.
The causes that most frequently generate income for this reason in Neonatal Units are jaundice due to Rh incompatibility (when the baby is Rh positive, the mother is Rh positive and there has been previous sensitization) and AB0 group incompatibility (when the baby is A or B, and the mother is group 0). The first of these two situations can be prevented through the administration of specific immunoglobulins to Rh-negative pregnant women.
Other major causes of jaundice include sepsis, connatal infections, and internal bleeding.
The usual treatment of jaundice is phototherapy. Phototherapy consists of placing the newborn under a light source. Ultraviolet radiation facilitates the conjugation and removal of excess bilirubin.
If excess bilirubin is very important, the patient's blood must be replaced (exchange transfusion).
You can read more articles similar to Causes of jaundice in the newborn, in the category of Newborn on site.