After a baby is born it should be taken care of in a special way as the protection that the baby had got in the mother's womb had shielded it from a number of diseases. However, even after a lot of care and precautions infants become the victims of a number of diseases.
Slightly more than fifty percent of all full term infants develop jaundice in the first week of life. Jaundice is a deadly disease and infants who get this are taken special care of to bring the bilirubin count down.
Newborns do not yet have bacteria or other digestion enzymes needed to process bilirubin. Hence they start suffering from jaundice easily. Whether jaundice is dangerous depends upon what is causing it, how high the bilirubin amount is and how easily the bilirubin level rises.
While infants are in the hospital, physicians periodically check them for jaundice. Jaundice may also be obvious in the colour of the whites of the newborn's eyes or skin. In case the newborn has jaundice, physicians concentrate on determining its cause.
Newborns who have less breast milk have fewer bowel motions and therefore discharge less bilirubin. As babies continue to breastfeed and have more milk, the jaundice generally disappears on its own. Jaundice appears when infants are five to seven days old, peaks at about two weeks, and may last for three to twelve weeks.
In case the newborn is released from the hospital on the first day after birth, a bilirubin level test must be done before release. Newborns with hazard factors for a high jaundice degree or who had a high level before release might need to be seen at least twice after release from the hospital.
Hypothyroidism can be present at birth or soon afterward. It is generally seen in infants whose mothers suffer from hypothyroidism. A blood test is done to check if the infant is suffering from hypothyroidism or not.