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Neonatal Hyperbilirubinemia/Jaundice

What is Neonatal Hyperbilirubinemia/Jaundice?

Neonatal Hyperbilirubinemia/Jaundice is a condition in newborns that makes their skin and eyes look yellow due to high levels of bilirubin in blood. Bilirubin is a yellow coloured substance that is made by the body when it replaces old red blood cells. The liver helps in breaking down these substances so that they can be eliminated from the body in the form of stool. Jaundice generally advances in head-to-foot direction. More than half of neonates suffer from this condition in the first week of their birth.

What causes Neonatal Hyperbilirubinemia/Jaundice?

Neonatal Hyperbilirubinemia/Jaundice is very common condition in newborns because their liver is not mature enough to eliminate bilirubin from the blood. it may occur due to number of reasons, like:

  • Abnormal blood cell shapes
  • Blood type mismatch between mother and baby
  • Bleeding underneath the scalp due to difficult delivery
  • Higher levels of red blood cells
  • Infection
  • Lack of enzymes 
What are the symptoms of Neonatal Hyperbilirubinemia/Jaundice?

The most common symptom of Jaundice is yellow coloured skin that starts from head and further advances to chest, belly, legs and feet. The baby may also seem tired or may feed poorly. 

How can Neonatal Hyperbilirubinemia/Jaundice be treated?

Most cases of Jaundice don’t require any treatment and the condition improves with time. In case, the bilirubin levels are too high or they are rising quickly, then your baby will require treatment. The various treatment options include:

  • Intake of plenty of fluids along with breastmilk
  • Phototherapy
  • Exchange transfusion