Recognizing Normal Bilirubin Levels in Newborns

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Recognizing Normal Bilirubin Levels in Newborns
Recognizing Normal Bilirubin Levels in Newborns

Bilirubin is a yellow pigment in blood and feces. Bilirubin is made by the body when red blood cells are destroyed naturally. In newborns, one of the signs of high bilirubin levels is the condition of a yellow baby

The baby will be jaundiced if the bilirubin is not processed properly by the liver. This can occur because the amount of bilirubin produced from the destruction of blood cells is too much, so the liver does not have time to process it, or indeed because there is a disturbance in the liver. When this happens, the surface of the skin and the whites of the eyes turn yellow.This condition is called jaundice.

Recognize Normal Bilirubin Levels in Newborns - Alodokter

Ensuring Normal Bilirubin Levels Through Blood Test

To determine the level of bilirubin, it is necessary to do a blood test. The examination is carried out in the first few days since the baby is born. This is to prevent the possibility of a dangerous impact and threaten the safety of the baby.

In newborns, normal bilirubin levels should be below 5 mg/dL. However, not a few newborns have bilirubin levels that exceed these levels. For some cases of mild jaundice in newborns, no special therapy or medical treatment is needed. This condition can heal by itself within 2-3 weeks. However, for more severe conditions, it is necessary to receive intensive treatment by a doctor at the hospital.

The treatment given by the doctor aims to prevent a dangerous condition, namely kernicterus, due to jaundice that is left too long. This condition is a type of brain damage caused by high levels of bilirubin in the baby's blood.

High Bilirubin Treatment

Jaundice babies due to high bilirubin levels with moderate to severe levels, must be treated immediately so that they can return to normal. Here are the high bilirubin levels according to the baby's age:

  • More than 10 mg/dL in infants less than 1 day old
  • More than 15 mg/dL in infants aged 1-2 days
  • More than 18 mg/dL in babies 2-3 days old
  • More than 20 mg/dL in infants older than 3 days.

There are several treatments that can be done in an effort to reduce the bilirubin level to normal in newborns, including:

  • Light therapy (phototherapy)

    In phototherapy, the baby will be placed under a special light that looks turquoise. The light is expected to help change the bilirubin molecule so that it can be excreted through urine and feces.During the process, babies are only allowed to wear diapers and eye protection.

  • Immunoglobulin transfusionIs the next step for the treatment of jaundiced babies, especially those caused by differences in the rhesus blood groups of babies and mothers (rhesus incompatibility). This condition makes the baby get a lot of antibodies from the mother's body, which will attack the baby's blood cells, resulting in the breakdown of a lot of blood cells. Infusion of immunoglobulin (IVIg), can help reduce the number of these antibodies, so that jaundice can be resolved.

  • Blood replacement transfusionThis method is only used if the baby has severe jaundice that does not respond to other therapies. Blood replacement transfusion is done by taking a small portion of blood from the baby's body, then replacing it with donor blood, and is done repeatedly.The goal is that the blood in the baby's body is free from high levels of bilirubin and maternal antibodies.

Normal bilirubin level is a sign of a he althy baby. If the baby looks jaundiced and is suspected of having too high a bilirubin, you should immediately see a pediatrician so that appropriate treatment can be given.

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