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Nav Jat Shishu Kamla (Neonatal Jaundice) and its Ayurvedic Treatment

Dr. K.Y. Iyer

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When is Jaundice Considered Serious?

Doctors usually decide to treat jaundice when a baby’s bilirubin level reaches 18 or 20 milligrams per deciliter of blood. If your baby’s level is high or appears to be increasing rapidly, your practitioner will take steps to lower it.

If your baby develops jaundice in the first 24 hours after birth, it’s always considered serious and he’ll need close monitoring and treatment. This type of jaundice is uncommon and usually due to a blood-type incompatibility between you and your baby. If there’s a possibility of an incompatibility, the medical team may take a blood sample from your baby at birth to find out his blood type and do a "Coombs test" to see if an incompatibility has affected his blood cells and could cause him to become jaundiced. If he is found to have a blood-type incompatibility and/or a positive Coombs test, he should be watched very closely for jaundice. (Some practitioners will wait to do the blood test until a baby shows signs of developing jaundice, since he may be just fine even if your blood types are incompatible.)

Jaundice during a newborn’s first 24 hours can also be caused by serious conditions such as liver, gallbladder, and intestinal disorders, a blood infection, excessive birth trauma, or extreme prematurity (being born before 28 weeks gestation).

Extremely elevated bilirubin levels that are not treated appropriately can cause permanent damage to the nervous system. A very small percentage of jaundiced newborns develop a condition called kernicterus, which can result in deafness, delayed development, or a form of cerebral palsy. If a baby develops a severe case of jaundice, he may need to be admitted to the intensive care unit for a blood transfusion.

Is any Treatment Required for Newborn Jaundice?

Usually jaundice in newborn is not at all dangerous. However if the baby shows any of the warning signs given above, consult your doctor as soon as possible.

Since, jaundice in babies is not usually harmful and disappears by the 10 th day, no treatment is required. However some babies may require treatment in the form of light (photo therapy). This is done after the doctor checks the baby’s blood for high bilirubin levels. It is given with the help of a special light. Baby is placed under this light completely naked except for presence of eye pads (to shield the eyes) and cloth to cover the genitals. Photo therapy helps to remove bilirubin faster from the baby. The baby should be fed properly and adequately during photo therapy to ensure a good urine output. Phototherapy is usually given for few days.

Babies with hypothyroidism may have prolonged jaundice beyond 2 weeks and they should be screened for thyroid disorder and if detected, appropriate treatment should be given. Babies with red cell defects may require further treatment. If liver disease is the cause of jaundice (though very rare), early treatment should be initiated to prevent further damage to the liver.

If your baby’s level of bilirubin doesn’t warrant prescription phototherapy, you can still help his jaundice by giving him a little exposure to sunlight in the early morning or late afternoon. (Avoid the strong rays of the midday sun; babies are very vulnerable to sunburn.) And make sure he’s getting plenty of br**st milk or formula - so he’ll have frequent bowel movements. If you have any concerns, check with your practitioner to make sure you’re taking the right steps to get your baby back in the pink.

Medicines as Described in Ayurvedic Epics

  • Dhatri lauh
  • Navayas lauh
  • Panchamrit lauh
  • Pranvallabh ras
  • Kumarkalyan ras
  • Kamla har ras
  • Rohitak arisht
  • Kumarya asav
  • Dhatriya arisht
  • Phaltrikadi kwath
  • Panchgavya ghrit
  • Mahatikt ghrit
  • Kalyanak ghrit

Consult Your Doctor Immediately

  • Jaundice appearing within first 24 hours of life.
  • Jaundice persists even after 14 days of life
  • Baby is not feeding well.
  • Baby’s urine becomes yellow in color
  • The stools of the baby are pale or clay colored (almost whitish)
  • Baby appears lethargic, irritable.
If your baby develops jaundice in the first 24 hours after birth, it’s always considered serious and he’ll need close monitoring and treatment.

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