Jaundice is also described as hyperbilirubinemia, which is a very common condition that occurs in newborns within 2 to 4 days after they’re born. It results from an excessive amount of bilirubin, which is a waste product produced by the breakdown of red blood cells. Fully mature livers are capable of filtering and eliminating bilirubin, while underdeveloped livers of infants can result in the occurrence of jaundice. Whilst there’s no precise method to prevent jaundice, being informed of the possible risk factors can be helpful in determining some effective ways to prevent the development of newborn jaundice.
Measuring and minimizing exposure to potential risk factors
Be certain to take comprehensive blood tests while you’re pregnant. Some cases of blood incompatibility can accelerate the breakdown of red blood cells, resulting in the production of more bilirubin. Mothers with rhesus-negative blood types should ensure that more blood work is done for their newborns since ABO and rhesus incompatibilities are great risk factors for jaundice. Moreover, genetic enzyme deficiencies such as glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency can pose a greater danger for jaundice since they can injure certain blood cells, generating more bilirubin in the body. Apart from prenatal blood tests, medical specialists now perform a series of jaundice tests on the baby before he/she leaves the hospital.
Reduce the chances of preterm births
Infants born before ten months are highly susceptible to jaundice. The livers of preterm babies are less developed than those of full-term babies, making it impossible for the babies’ livers to effectively remove the bilirubin from their bloodstream.
Some risk factors like age and multiple births are uncontrollable; however, environmental risks can be avoided. Make sure that you follow an up-to-date prenatal care so you and your unborn child stay healthy throughout your pregnancy. Having regular check-ups will assist you in pinpointing any existent problems that could cause premature delivery.
Exposing yourself from chemical contaminants such as street drugs, tobacco, and alcohol can increase your chances of having a pre-term delivery. Also, certain environmental pollutants can accelerate the risk. Stress should also be avoided as much as possible. Stay calm to avoid early labor. Having a job that demands emotional effort, experiencing domestic violence, or lack of social and moral support are potential contributors to stress that can lead to premature births.
Be informed that breastfed babies are more prone to jaundice
This shouldn’t worry you much. If your baby’s jaundice is due to breastfeeding, it will disappear shortly and can easily be treated. Breast milk comes in after a few days of delivery. In the early days of life, an infant consumes a pre-milk substance known as the colostrum. It is very scant in quantity but highly dense in nutrients.
Since they don’t drink much milk as compared to formula-fed newborns, their digestive systems aren’t emptied quickly, which makes bilirubin to build up in the body. However, breastfeeding is not the major cause of concern and you shouldn’t stop breastfeeding your baby. The benefits that come with breast milk often outweigh the risks for jaundice.
Feed your baby regularly
Frequent feeding will improve your child’s weight and general development, including the healthy growth of his/her liver. Ideally, babies should eat more than ten times a day, especially when they’re likely to develop jaundice.
If you maintain frequent feeding habits in the early days of your baby’s life, you’ll encourage your breast milk to come in quicker and establish a consistently strong supply.