Saturday, November 10, 2007


I've got some news to all the mothers, future mothers and aspiring mothers to be. Do you know that there is a rare but serious disease that your baby or babies might suffer? It is called Kernicterus. Now what is Kernicterus? It is the disease where too much bilirubin in the blood causes brain damage. The name Kernicterus comes from two Greek words - kern which refers to a portion of the brain, and icterus, which means yellow. The brain is the part of the body most severely damaged by prolonged exposure to extra bilirubin in the blood. Severe damage to the brain can result in the child's death. If the baby lives, they may experience deficits such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation, or problems with vision and hearing. How do you know that one is suffering the disease? The most common sign that a baby is at risk for Kernicterus is yellowing of the skin, especially in the first 24 hours after birth. Sometime, the whites of the baby's eyes may turn yellow too. Other signs are a baby who is not alert or who is difficult to wake up. Babies with Kernicterus often have a shrill, high pitched cry and may appear weak or limp. Sometimes they lie unnaturally in bed with their bodies arched upward when lying on their backs. Be sure to talk to your doctors now before anything is too late.

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