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Baby Jaundice

Around one third of all newborns will get Jaundice in the first week. When your baby is growing in the uterus they have high levels of red blood cells to help process the oxygen. After your baby is born these red blood cells must be broken down and the body must get rid of them.

The breakdown of the red blood cells causes a by product called Bilirubin – this gives the babies skin a yellow tinge to both the eyes and the skin. This process is nothing to be worried about – it will happen throughout the baby’s life.

How to tell is your baby has Jaundice?

  • Skin tone is yellowish and around the whites of the eyes
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dark brown urine
  • Pale-coloured poo

How to treat Jaundice?

Many babies do not need any treatment. The most likely treatment is phototherapy. The treatment involves your baby being put under special white, blue or green lights. Your baby’s eyes will be covered to prevent any damage. This can last for 1 to 2 days.

Side effects of phototherapy?

Side effects can be loose stools, temperature problems or dehydration. Your doctor will monitor for these symptoms.

If the phototherapy does lower your baby’s bilirubin levels then it is possible your baby will receive an exchange transfusion. This means that your baby will have some blood removed with this replaced by somebody else’s blood.

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