Hearing that your baby has been diagnosed with jaundice can be very scary as a new parent. We understand this and want to help you learn about what it is and how common it really is.
First of all, don’t panic! It’s normal for babies to have at least some degree of jaundice and this shouldn’t usually cause any issues. Physiologic jaundice is the most common type of jaundice and it actually exists in about 60% of full-term newborns within the US, so you’re not alone here.
Jaundice occurs because your newborn’s blood has too much bilirubin built up in it. Bilirubin is a molecule that forms when red blood cells get broken down. It has a yellow pigment and gets broken down by the liver. So, when there is too much of this, it can build up and cause a yellow discoloration of a newborn’s skin and eyes. This yellow discoloration generally begins within the first 2-4 days after birth and usually starts in their face before spreading to the rest of the body. If jaundice occurs starting on the first day of life or extends past 1 week, this could become a problem larger than physiological jaundice.
It’s important to treat jaundice because these bilirubin molecules can reach into the brain. This can lead to other conditions such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation, or even death. While jaundice treatment is common and doesn’t cause any lasting effects, if levels are left high and untreated it can lead to these serious issues.
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Disclaimer: The contents of this article are created for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for the advice of a medical professional. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider if you have any medical concerns.
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