Jan Leow's Press Blog

Jaundice in newborns and Jaundice treatment

Jaundice in newborns

It seems like jaundice in newborns are rather prevalent nowadays. However the jaundice treatment is simple but can be rather costly especially if it drags on. After my baby was born, he had a little jaundice. Normally it should clear by itself but after the third day the paediatrician requested us to admit the baby for jaundice treatment.

So what is jaundice? When the red blood cells are broken down, bilirubin is produced and released into the blood stream. Normally the bilirubin is carried to the liver where it is processed and then removed from the body through stools. For unborn babies, the bilirubin is removed via the placenta. So once a baby is born, the liver needs to take over the process. Unfortunately for my baby, his liver function is still not at its optimum in removing the bilirubin from the blood stream, and it is this bilirubin in the blood stream that makes a baby looked yellow.

The traditional method was to have your baby sun for awhile to help the liver process to get going. Since the sunlight can be strong especially in the tropical climate where we live in addition his bilirubin was rather high coupled with the fact that he was under nourish from breastfeeding as the mother’s milk was also not producing at its optimum, we had no choice but to admit our baby.

Jaundice treatment

Jaundice Treatment

The jaundice treatment in the hospital was simple using UV photoelectric light for an extended period of time to get the liver function going. In the special nursery I saw many newborns with jaundice having the same treatment. Depending on the paediatrician, some will use single UV photoelectric lamp, and for our case, it was a double; from the top and from the bottom. Perhaps my baby’s bilirubin was rather high and the paediatrician opts for a double exposure. That was good as the bilirubin level came down on the second day, and further observation on the third day, the bilirubin level was more or less stabilized.

The paediatrician was considering keeping the baby for a fourth day of observation but I said it wasn’t necessary since it is stable already. No need to keep the baby there longer than necessary, the hospital fees was costing a bomb! For those other babies in the nursery I notice they were staying somewhat longer, and it must be costing the parents a fortune for jaundice treatment. For rough estimate the cost of jaundice treatment and care in Malaysia is approximately RM400 per day in a private hospital, for me anyway. In future the rate might change so take this as a rough guide.

Although jaundice in newborns may be prevalent and the jaundice treatment is simple and effective, jaundice should be taken care of as it could lead to other complications and could be fatal. Excessive breakdown of red blood cells, live blockages, infections and incompatible rhesus between mother and child are some of the serious jaundice in newborns and must seek jaundice treatment as soon as possible.

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