Jaundice During Pregnancy: Impact On Babies

Jaundice is not a disease in itself. Rather, it is an indication of a disease process developing inside the body. Jaundice in pregnant ladies is troublesome as it can lead to serious consequences for fetal and maternal health.


Read on to know about jaundice during pregnancy and its impact on babies.

 
What is Jaundice?


Jaundice is a condition that causes a decline in your liver functioning. The most common symptom of jaundice is that it makes your skin pale and the sclerae of your eyes yellow while your urine turns dark coloured. The consequences of jaundice can vary from innocuous to potentially fatal. Jaundice is quite common among newborn babies. Though adults can also suffer from this condition, jaundice during pregnancy is relatively rare.


Causes of Jaundice During Pregnancy


The different causes of jaundice during pregnancy include the following:


Hyperemesis Gravidarum


In the initial days of pregnancy, women often suffer from nausea and vomiting. The frequent vomiting bouts sometimes cause an electrolyte imbalance and dehydration in the body. This can impact the proper functioning of the liver and lead to jaundice.


HELLP Syndrome


Sometimes pregnant ladies suffer from a serious complication of pre-eclampsia after the initial phase of pregnancy. HELLP (Hemolysis, Elevated Liver Enzymes, and Low Platelets) syndrome often affects women who are suffering from pre-eclampsia. Women affected by this syndrome also suffer from liver damage, which can lead to jaundice.


Acute Fatty Liver


When a woman is in the final phase of her pregnancy, sometimes fatty acids can accumulate in her liver. This can become the cause of chronic liver dysfunction and pave the way for jaundice. Such a condition can prove to be life-threatening for the mother and her baby.


What are the Impacts of Jaundice During Pregnancy on Babies?


There can be many serious effects on a baby as a result of jaundice during pregnancy. The effects include complications related to the delivery of the baby as well as conditions that can disrupt the holistic development of the baby.


Delivery Related Problems


The delivery-related complications that can result from jaundice during pregnancy include stillbirths, placental abruption, pre-term deliveries, postpartum haemorrhages, and the risk of transmitting infections to the newborn during childbirth.


Health Issues for the Baby


Infants born from mothers suffering from jaundice during their pregnancy periods are at risks of developing health conditions like congenital hepatitis and IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction). The risk of neurological complications like kernicterus (a condition of brain dysfunction) also exists. In severe cases, jaundice can also lead to cerebral palsy and affect the mental faculties resulting of the newborn.


A Word of Advice


Jaundice during pregnancy is a condition that can have far-reaching effects on your baby’s health. But if the baby receives immediate medical treatment upon diagnosis of this condition, the impacts of the disorder can be contained to a large extent. As such, jaundice should be taken seriously to overcome its threatening effects.

 

Also read: Malaria During Pregnancy

 

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