Jaundice is a common condition in infants, specifically those born prematurely. Babies born before 38 weeks of gestation are especially susceptible to jaundice. But what causes the condition and how is it treated?
Here’s what you need to know about premature infant jaundice, with information that will set your mind at ease as a parent:
What is Jaundice?
Most of us have seen or at least heard of jaundice, but what is it?
Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin and eyes, most common in infants. It is the visual side effect of an excess of yellow pigment in the red blood cells, known as bilirubin.
Typically, the liver will rid the body of excessive bilirubin. However, many premature babies suffer from immature livers that are not capable of filtering this substance out of the blood. Sometimes, another disease or condition may be the root of the problem that is causing jaundice.
Is Jaundice Dangerous?
Typically, jaundice is not dangerous. With time and proper nutrition and monitoring, a baby can typically recover from jaundice very quickly and without further intervention. However, in some very premature infants or those with other serious health conditions, extended periods of jaundice can result in brain damage. This is why pediatricians focus on monitoring to ensure that the condition does not linger for too long.
Treatment for Jaundice and When to See a Doctor
In general, there is not usually a need for proactive treatment for babies with jaundice. However, there are some circumstances that may require medical intervention. Some signs that your baby may need to see a doctor about their jaundice include:
- our child is becoming listless, lethargic, or is difficult to wake from sleep.
- An increasing presence of yellow pigment rather than decrease.
- An obvious yellow tinge in the whites of the eyes.
- Your baby is not gaining weight, is losing weight, or has no appetite.
- The yellow tint of your baby’s skin is traveling to areas that were not previously impacted.
Overall, you should always air on the side of caution. If you are concerned with your child’s health or need jaundice care for baby, consult the pediatricians at Pediatrix. They can help you make the condition briefer and less unpleasant for your baby and yourself. There’s no need to worry when your baby’s care is in great hands!