Pregnancy and children: Nappy awareness could save little lives

Up to 60 per cent of babies are born with jaundice, a result of the liver struggling to process waste products as it adjusts to life outside the womb. But if the jaundice hasn't disappeared within two weeks of birth, that yellow hue could be a sign of a form of potentially fatal liver disease called biliary atresia, one of 100 forms that can affect newborns.


It's a sign that bile isn't being secreted into the intestine, which means the liver isn't working properly and if a baby doesn't have surgery in time, they are likely to end up needing a liver transplant. And the clues lie in a baby's nappy.


As well as having yellow skin, a baby with liver disease is likely also to have distinctively coloured stools and urine. Urine should not be persistently yellow or strong smelling, it should be clear. Stools should actually be green or, in bottle-fed babies, English mustard-yellow and, in breast-fed babies, daffodil yellow. They should not be pale. If you notice those signs in your baby's nappy, you must see your doctor immediately