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My baby is seeing yellow

  1. A yellow face, a yellow belly or yellow arms and legs: can you see that clearly? A yellowish glow is normal in newborn babies. If yellowness develops in the first 24 hours after birth or if the yellowness persists for longer, it is important to contact your doctor.

  2. A yellow face, a yellow belly or yellow arms and legs: can you see that clearly? A yellowish glow is normal in newborn babies. If yellowness develops in the first 24 hours after birth, or if the yellowness persists for longer, it is important to contact your doctor.

  1. If your baby sees yellow, it is important to give him a good drink. Too little fluid increases the level of bilirubin in the blood.

What is hyperbilirubinaemia?

  1. Yellow skin is caused by a yellow dye from the blood that pulls into the skin. This dye is called bilirubin, which is a breakdown product of hemoglobin. If there is too much bilirubin in the blood, it is called hyperbilirubinaemia. If the bilirubin level is too high, your baby will react to it. Too high a bilirubin level manifests itself in poor drinking, drowsiness, apathy, low or very high muscle tone, irritability and overstretching of the head and trunk. If a very high level of bilirubin in the blood remains for too long, it can lead to irreversible brain damage. This manifests itself (later) in gross involuntary movements, abnormal eye movements, hearing loss, tooth discoloration and in some cases a mentally handicapped person.

  2. Yellow skin is caused by a yellow dye from the blood that pulls into the skin. This dye is called bilirubin, which is a breakdown product of hemoglobin. If there is too much bilirubin in the blood, it is called hyperbilirubinaemia. If the bilirubin level is too high, your baby will react to it. Too high a bilirubin level manifests itself in poor drinking, drowsiness, apathy, low or very high muscle tone, irritability and overstretching of the head and trunk. If a very high level of bilirubin in the blood remains for too long, it can lead to irreversible brain damage. This manifests itself (later) in gross involuntary movements, abnormal eye movements, hearing impairment, tooth discoloration and in some cases a mentally handicapped person.

Cause

  1. Before birth, the baby makes a different type of hemoglobin than after. The pre-birth hemoglobin is broken down by the baby's body through the liver after birth. The liver is unable to process this sudden and enormous supply of breakdown products so quickly. As a result, the bilirubin content rises. In most children, seeing yellow is therefore a normal process of the body. In the days that follow, bilirubin levels drop again. Breastfeeding your baby will keep him looking yellow for longer. This is not the case with bottle feeding.

  2. Before birth, the baby makes a different type of hemoglobin than after. The pre-birth hemoglobin is broken down by the baby's body through the liver after birth. The liver is unable to process this sudden and enormous supply of breakdown products so quickly. This causes the bilirubin level to rise. In most children, seeing yellow is therefore a normal process of the body. In the days that follow, the bilirubin levels drop again. Breastfeeding your baby will keep him looking yellow for longer. This is not the case with bottle feeding.

Abnormal breakdown

  1. If you as a mother pass on antibodies that are deposited against the red blood cells of your child, an abnormally high breakdown occurs. The best-known antibodies come from the Resus system. A strong breakdown then takes place, so that the bilirubin content can rise sharply. This causes severe and often yellowing quickly after birth. The doctor will check your blood during pregnancy to see if there are any antibodies present that are dangerous for your baby. If this is the case, antibodies are given during pregnancy and immediately after birth to scavenge the dangerous antibodies.

  2. If you, as a mother, pass on antibodies that are deposited against the red blood cells of your child, an abnormally high breakdown occurs. The best-known antibodies come from the Resus system. A strong breakdown then takes place, so that the bilirubin content can rise sharply. This causes severe and often yellowing quickly after birth. The doctor will check your blood during pregnancy to see if there are any antibodies that are dangerous for your baby. If this is the case, antibodies are given during pregnancy and immediately after birth to scavenge the dangerous antibodies.

Other causes

  1. The following causes can also cause yellow vision: Children born more than two weeks prematurely are more likely to experience yellow. That's because their liver isn't ripe yet. Breast-fed children whose milk production is difficult to get started are more likely to have high bilirubin levels in their blood because they don't get enough fluid. Bruising or bruising may occur during birth. The blood is broken down in these areas, causing more bilirubin to enter the blood. If your child has a pale yellow color, it could be an infection. Other symptoms are therefore present. In some metabolic diseases, children can also see excessive yellow. This is very rare and is accompanied by other symptoms. A rare cause of seeing yellow is blockage of the bile ducts. Due to this barrier, bile does not enter the intestine and the bilirubin cannot be removed through the intestine. The stool becomes discolored and the urine can look very dark. Also, no vitamin K is absorbed by the baby, so there is a risk of bleeding.

Diagnosis

  1. It is normal for a baby to look a little yellow on the second or third day after birth. Almost half of all newborns have this to some degree. The face is yellow first, followed by the trunk, arms and legs. If your child stays yellow longer, the whites of the eyes will also turn yellow. This normal form of yellow vision is seen in many babies and must be distinguished from seeing yellow due to disease. Consult a doctor if: Seeing yellow occurs within 24 hours of birth. It is known that you as a mother carry antibodies against a blood group with you. Your baby stays yellow for more than three weeks. Your baby is very slow, does not want to drink and looks very yellow. There are white stools or dark colored urine. You think your child has an infection. The temperature is too high or too low.

  2. It is normal for a baby to look a little yellow on the second or third day after birth. Almost half of all newborns have this to some degree. The face is yellow first, followed by the trunk, arms and legs. If your child stays yellow longer, the whites of the eyes will also turn yellow. This normal form of yellow vision is seen in many babies and must be distinguished from seeing yellow due to disease. Consult a doctor if: Seeing yellow occurs within 24 hours of birth. It is known that you as a mother carry antibodies against a blood group. Your baby stays yellow for more than three weeks. Your baby is very slow, does not want to drink and looks very yellow. There are white stools or dark colored urine. You think your child has an infection. The temperature is too high or too low.

Treatment A bilirubin meter reads the bilirubin level in the blood. The device resembles an ear thermometer and is placed on your baby's forehead or breastbone. A meter is less reliable than a blood test. In case of deviating values, blood is sometimes still taken. If there is any doubt whether or not your baby's seeing yellow is normal, a blood test will always be started. First, the doctor looks at the bilirubin level and the blood level (hemoglobin). In case of an abnormal value, the blood group, the presence of antibodies and signs of infection are also examined. If abnormal results are found, your baby will be eligible for phototherapy. The doctor will initiate further investigation to discover the exact cause of the yellow vision. Light can break down the yellow dye. This is called phototherapy. If the bilirubin level is too high, the baby is placed under a phototherapy lamp. This lamp emits a purple-blue light, which breaks down the yellow dye. If the bilirubin level does rise, the doctor will consider an exchange transfusion. The baby's blood is exchanged with donated blood via the umbilical cord. In this way, the antibodies are removed from the body, the bilirubin level is significantly reduced and the blood level is brought up to the required level. This article has been approved by Dr. J.M. de Bont, pediatrician-pediatric neurologist at UMC Utrecht. Last revised September 21, 2018 Also read Liver cirrhosis, hepatitis and jaundice My baby is drinking badly Don't miss anything anymore?

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