Jaundice means that the skin turns from the normal healthy-looking white appearance to a yellowish shade. This can vary from an almost imperceptible shade to a deep yellow.
Also, the whites of the eyes may be adversely affected. Indeed, the whites may be the first part to become yellowish. In milder forms of jaundice, it may not extend beyond this.
Frequently the urine will become dark in color. It often resembles the color of tea, and the deeper the brownish color, the more severe and serious is the condition producing the jaundice.
As the urine increases in discoloration, often the stools become lighter.
The development of jaundice in a baby should always be taken seriously. It is essential to call the doctor and follow all instructions fully.
The Rh factor was once a very serious cause of jaundice in newborn infants. However, with the development of special serums and methods of treating the mother, this is being eliminated from the community.
If there is any chance of Rh incompatibility, the mother is given a special injection within 72 hours of the birth of her baby. In this manner, the chance of problems arising with subsequent pregnancy is largely reduced.
Often in the first week of life a baby will show a mild degree of jaundice. This is called “physiological jaundice of the newborn“. It requires no treatment and goes spontaneously.