The baby’s skin and whites of the eyes 2-3 days after birth acquire a yellow tint of different intensity, which is quite exciting for young mothers. In most cases, an increased bilirubin in a newborn is a physiological condition that does not pose a risk to the health of the infant, passing under simple rules.
Why does bilirubin increase in newborns?
Before the birth of the baby, the mother does everything for him: feeds, breathes. The breath of the unborn creature is due to the placenta – a unique organ – the best home for the baby. Oxygen transport is due to the protein contained in red blood cells – hemoglobin. Normally, the level of hemoglobin in the blood of a newly born baby is quite high – from 140 to 250 g / l., While the normal content of hemoglobin in the blood of an adult male is 130-170 g / l. A high level of oxygen-transporting protein provides the baby with full gas exchange in the prenatal period.
With the first breath, an independent life begins. High levels of hemoglobin in the blood are no longer needed. The process of replacing the unstable, but oxygen-intensive hemoglobin of the fetus, fetal hemoglobin, with the stable form of the “adult” protein begins.
As a result of the destruction of the “unnecessary” hemoglobin, a compound is formed in the blood – a saturated yellow-brown pigment – bilirubin. This compound is captured by liver enzymes, converting it into a form that is available for excretion from the body through the intestines. This process occurs constantly, not only in the body of a newborn, but in every adult.
Staining of the skin and mucous membranes occurs due to the increased content in the blood of bilirubin not bound by liver enzymes. In babies of the first month of life, this is due to the functional immaturity of the liver. An increase in bilirubin in newborns is not considered pathological if it does not exceed 324 μmol / L.
What to do with “jaundice”?
In maternity hospitals, doctors and baby sisters daily assess the condition of newborns. All babies, without exception, undergo tests showing the exact values of the blood counts. With an increase in bilirubin in newborns below the acceptable value, the best treatment will be early and frequent attachment of the child to the chest, and careful care, eliminating the possibility of hypothermia and prolonged hunger. Physiological jaundice persists for 2-3 weeks, after which its intensity decreases.