Newborn's Bright Yellow Vomit Indicates Serious Condition: Volvulus

Newborn's Bright Yellow Vomit Indicates Serious Condition: Volvulus

Jennifer had the longest night in her life after a seemingly innocent yellow vomit. Thank god she did not ignore it!

About 5 years back, Jennifer Pearson gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. He was a placid boy, content to cuddle in the warmth. However, on the 10th day, he had a bright yellow vomit, and it was forceful, almost projectile. Jennifer knew it was not a normal phenomenon, so she decided to call and check.

Yellow vomit and the long night

Newborn's Bright Yellow Vomit Indicates Serious Condition: Volvulus

As soon as the nurse heard the word bright projectile vomit, she urged Jennifer to rush to the emergency department. The trouble was, her elder, almost 2-year-old child was acting up. So she decided to leave him home, his dad in charge of the fussy toddler. 

But as soon as the doctors saw her at the local hospital in Australia, they know that the baby would need help. And so, the 10-day-old baby was rushed to Sydney in an ambulance, and Jennifer was driving behind the ambulance as she could not leave her car at the hospital.

Imagine her condition, she was not in the ambulance, and as soon as they reached the bigger hospital, the baby was wheeled in and she was asked to wait. In the rush, she had not picked up anything. Luckily, a nurse handed her a breast pump. While she was pumping, the nurse told her that her baby was x-rayed. And it was what they thought it would be, the baby would have to undergo an operation.

The nature of symptoms caused the doctors to suspect volvulus - a condition where the bowel twists on itself causing immense pain. This is a serious condition warranting an immediate surgery. As Jennifer waited for the results to come, she could not do anything but look helplessly at her baby behind the glass door, all engulfed by tubes. 

And what seemed like an eternity later, the results came out - it was not volvulus! The baby would not need an operation. The doctors could not find a cause for the vomit, and it did not happen again, but this was the longest night in her life till then. Sadly, she heard that another baby was not as lucky as her own. He threw up a similar yellow vomit, was rushed to the hospital, but did not survive.

Never ignore this in an infant

Newborn's Bright Yellow Vomit Indicates Serious Condition: Volvulus

Jennifer was lucky, and she states so in her book, ‘I Wish Someone Had Told Me …’ It talks about what no one tells an expecting mother - the reality of the first few weeks after having a baby. However, there are symptoms every parent should know about - the red flags to rush the child to an emergency department.

Here are the 4 things that a parent should never ignore

  1. Forceful vomiting. It is generally a serious issue. A doctor will suspect and test your baby for infections like meningitis. If it is a yellow vomit or green, it could be volvulus. Even torsion o the testis or an ovary can cause intense pain and vomiting, so depending on the clinical condition, the doctor will chart a course of action. 
  2. No wet diapers for 8 hours. It is completely normal for babies not to poop for days. But they will ALWAYS pass urine unless they are severely dehydrated. So if your baby is fussy or drowsy, not feeding properly, the fontanelle is depressed, and the skin around the belly-button looks shrivelled, the baby is dehydrated. You need to talk to your doctor.
  3. Bright-red jelly-like stools. If the stools look like red currant jelly, your baby might have a serious bowel condition called intussusception. Here, the bowel telescopes on itself, and this may cause complications. So rush to the emergency department.
  4. The baby appears blue. If your baby appears blue on crying, or even on rest, he might have a heart condition. The blue colour or cyanosis is caused when enough oxygen cannot reach the parts of the body. This condition is almost never missed in hospital deliveries, but if it appears later, you need to take the baby for a checkup. The condition might not be corrected immediately if it is mild, but it is better to have it assessed. 

Mums, if your baby is not well and your spidey sense starts tingling, take your baby to the hospital anyway. It is better to get it assessed than to ignore it. 

(Story source:

Also, read 5 common genital conditions in babies that may be hidden by the diapers

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Written by

Anay Bhalerao

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