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Jaundice in babies

Types of Jaundice

Jaundice, which is frequently seen in the first weeks of newborn babies, occurs as a result of the increase in the blood called bilirubin and its accumulation in the skin.

Jaundice seen in newborn babies is divided into two as non-harmful physiological and pathological jaundice that should be taken seriously.

Physiological Jaundice

Physiological jaundice is the type of jaundice that is seen in most of the newborn babies and is caused by the liver not getting enough bilirubin as a result of immaturity.

It is jaundice that usually occurs one or two days after birth and is expected to resolve spontaneously within 1-2 weeks and does not require treatment.

Pathological Jaundice 

Pathological jaundice, which occurs immediately after birth and should be taken seriously with excessive increase in bilirubin levels, occurs as a result of various more serious underlying reasons such as blood incompatibility between the mother and the baby.

It is important not to be late in treatment for pathological jaundice.

Breast Milk and Jaundice

There are also jaundice due to breast milk along with neonatal jaundice.

Late Breast Milk Jaundice

This type of jaundice, which can be seen rarely in breastfed babies, can start within a week after birth and last up to 3 to 10 weeks.

Enzymes called maddeler-glucuronidase and some substances increase the enzyme action as they cause the reabsorption of Bilirubin in the intestines.

“Bilirubin”, which cannot be removed during this movement, mixes with the blood after a while and causes jaundice in the baby.

Jaundice Due to Insufficient Breast Milk

This type of jaundice, as its name suggests, occurs as a result of inadequate intake of breast milk and its symptoms are similar to physiological jaundice. In its treatment, appropriate nutritional recommendations are important for increasing breast milk.

Jaundice Symptoms

Jaundice, which first appears on the face in newborn babies, is seen especially around the nose together with the whites of the eyes. The required bilirubin rate in a newborn baby is 1-2 mg / dl.

When this value exceeds 5 mg / dl, jaundice begins to manifest itself, and as bilirubin levels increase, yellow color begins to be seen in the whole body.

* If the amount of bilirubin is between 5 and 8 mg / dl, the head and neck area turns yellow.
* If the amount of bilirubin is between 8 and 10 mg / dl, the upper part of the body turns yellow.
* If the amount of bilirubin is between 10 and 13 mg / dl, the lower part of the body turns yellow.
* If the amount of bilirubin is between 13 and 16 mg / dl, arms and legs turn yellow.
* If the amount of bilirubin is around 20 mg / dl, hands and feet turn yellow.

Which Babies Should Be Carefully Followed?

* Those who have a blood incompatibility with the mother.
* Premature births.
* Those whose jaundice appears in the first 24 hours.
* Those who have sucking problem and therefore cannot be fed well.
* Those whose jaundice lasts longer than two weeks.

Treatment of Jaundice

Although neonatal jaundice is mostly physiological and passes by itself, it is important to follow this period by a specialist doctor, considering all the symptoms and factors that need attention.

The main purpose in the treatment of neonatal jaundice is to prevent permanent disorders that may occur. The most common 2 treatment types are as follows.


Phototherapy treatment is a very effective method for neonatal jaundice. Phototherapy, in other words light therapy, is applied to the baby with high bilirubin levels. With this treatment, it is aimed to remove bilirubin from the body by turning it into a water-soluble substance.

Exchange of blood

When the level of bilirubin in the blood increases excessively, it is applied by completely changing the baby’s blood.

Written by Maraaz

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