Neonatal Jaundice

see also Jaundice

Many babies, especially babies born before term, develop a yellowish tinge within 2-3 days of birth due to immaturity of liver, which cannot process the yellow pigment bilirubin (a by-product of continuous breakdown of red blood cells) fast enough. Both skin and white of eyes turn yellow, and baby may become lethargic and half-hearted about feeding; in an otherwise healthy baby, jaundice fades after a few days. Standard treatment is to give baby plenty to drink to flush out excess bilirubin; if bilirubin level remains high, baby may be exposed to ultraviolet light to make bilirubin water soluble so kidneys can eliminate it (there is a risk of very high bilirubin levels causing brain damage); in very severe cases, baby may need a blood transfusion.

In a few cases, jaundice may be due to haemolytic Anaemia caused by rhesus incompatibility (baby’s red blood cells come under attack from mother's antibodies) or bile duct atresia; former is referred to as haemolytic jaundice, and appears within 24 hours of birth; latter is known as obstructive jaundice, and usually onsets a week or so after birth, accompanied by Diarrhoea and loss of weight. Haemolytic jaundice may require a blood transfusion, or no treatment at all, but outlook for obstructive jaundice is poor unless bile ducts can be surgically repaired.

Specific remedies to be given every 2 hours for up to 10 doses when first signs of jaundice appear

  • First choice Chamomilla 30c
  • If Chamomilla is not effective Mercurius 30c
  • If jaundice is due to rhesus incompatibility Crotalus 30c

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Related to Problems in Infants
  National Deaf Children's Society
  Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID)
  La Leche League Great Britain
  National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)
  Cry-sis Helpline
  National Asthma Campaign

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