Sometimes a few days after birth, the mother remarked that her newborn baby has yellow skin and sclera. "Jaundice," in a panic, she thinks. Whether to sound the alarm? How dangerous is neonatal jaundice?

Many of us have jaundice is associated exclusively with the hepatitis A (Botkin's disease) and seems almost a death sentence. In fact, jaundice is really a symptom of hepatitis, but not always yellowing of the skin and sclera means that a person has hepatitis. You do not start to suspect tuberculosis at the slightest cough?

The cause of the jaundice is an increased blood levels of bilirubin. bile pigment, one of the intermediate products of the decomposition of hemoglobin. Jaundice of newborns arises because before birth, when the fetus still does not breathe with the lungs, oxygen in its body is transferred by red blood cells with a special type of hemoglobin - fetal. After birth, these erythrocytes are destroyed, because the need for them disappears, and a large amount of so-called indirect bilirubin is formed.

This kind of bilirubin is not soluble, so it is not excreted in the urine. For the transformation of bilirubin into a soluble form are responsible enzyme system of the liver. But in infants, these systems end up to emerge only a few days after birth, moreover, infants may be a deficiency of the blood protein albumin-binding bilirubin. The concentration of bilirubin in the body increases. Thus jaundice of newborns occurs.

Dangerous neonatal jaundice? Yes and no. The fact that there are several types of such jaundice. The most common of them is the physiological neonatal jaundice. It manifests itself on the third or fourth day after birth and occurs in approximately 60% of infants — even healthy babies. It goes away after a few days and does not cause complications. In fact, physiological jaundice of newborns and a disease-it is not.

Usually physiological jaundice does not affect the General condition of the child, although strongly pronounced jaundice may appear drowsiness, impaired appetite, and sometimes vomiting. The severity of jaundice is determined not by externals, but by the level of free (unbound) bilirubin in blood. The most effective method to reduce the toxicity of bilirubin is phototherapy (treatment with light) .

But apart from physiological jaundice occurs pathological neonatal jaundice. Usually it occurs before physiological jaundice, during the first 24 hours after birth. In addition to the icteric skin coloration and sclera, pathological jaundice of newborns can be accompanied by an increase in the liver and spleen, discoloration of feces, darkening of the urine, the appearance of bruises and pinpoint hemorrhages. As a result of increased hemolysis (disintegration of erythrocytes), anemia (anemia) begins.

Pathological neonatal jaundice can occur due to:

  • incompatibility of blood group or RH factor of the mother and child
  • genetic disorders
  • congenital infections (viral and bacterial)
  • cyst bile duct, hypoplasia of bile ducts, annular pancreas (obstructive jaundice)
  • hepatic dysfunction
  • hormonal disorders

Pathological jaundice in newborns is treated depending on the causes that caused it.  With intensive hemolysis, exchange blood transfusions are prescribed - they help to remove bilirubin and antibodies from the body causing massive destruction of red blood cells. When infectious diseases are treated primarily the infection itself. Mechanical jaundices are treated surgically. Treatment of hepatic dysfunction appoints a gastroenterologist, and with hormonal disturbance the endocrinologist appoints the necessary hormones.

Neonatal jaundice is not a death sentence. If a few days after birth your baby has yellow skin and sclera, probably has physiological jaundice, and there is nothing wrong — this is a normal condition for a newborn. But if the jaundice does not pass in a few days and is accompanied by other unpleasant symptoms — urgently to the doctor!  He will determine if your child has pathological jaundice, and if necessary, prescribe a treatment.