Miriam Bogdanovitz from Migdal HaEmek is sitting on her bed in the Maternity Department at Hillel Yaffe Medical Center, and breastfeeding her brand new daughter. At the same time, the baby is wrapped in a special biliblanket due to the neonatal jaundice which she developed after birth. “After my last birth, too, the baby needed phototherapy due to neonatal jaundice,” Miriam explains, “but then this service was not yet available and the treatment was carried out in a special crib in the Nursery, not next to my bed like now. It is important for me to be close to my children after birth, and the possibility of the biliblanket is welcome. An amazing service”.
Miriam Bogdanovitz and the baby during the biliblanket treatment
Zero separation and neonatal jaundice
The Hillel Yaffe Medical Center Maternity Division enables new mothers who are interested in “zero separation” – having the baby next to them continuously – to have phototherapy to treat neonatal jaundice at their bedside in the Maternity Ward. For treatment, the infant is dressed in a special suit, and during the treatment, the mother can lift up the baby, breastfeed him, stroke, and provide him with warmth and love.
Neonatal jaundice is a common problem, appearing in about 60% of all babies, and even more among nursing babies. The jaundice usually appears on the second or third day after birth and is expressed in a yellowing of the skin. It is caused by a rise in bilirubin levels, a result of the breakdown of the hemoglobin. In rare cases, the rate of creating the bilirubin exceeds the body’s ability to filter it out, although the bilirubin level usually remains in the physiological normal range and does not cause damage or danger to the baby.
Phototherapy is intended to lower the bilirubin levels. The treatment changes the spatial structure of the bilirubin and thus allows its excretion mainly into the liver, and from there to outside the body through the digestive system and feces. The biliblanket enables zero separation even where there is jaundice, a situation which, until now, required the infant to lie in an incubator under a special light in the Nursery Unit. The biliblanket enables the baby to receive treatment alongside his mother, throughout the day.
In cases in which bilirubin levels are too high and require treatment in more intense light, the treatment will be given in the department. This decision is always made by the medical staff together with, and with the agreement, of the parents. Once the high values have dropped, the newborn can return to being cared for close to his mother.