Soon after it was revealed that Beyoncé and her twins have been in the hospital since she gave birth to them a week ago, TMZ reported on Tuesday that the latest Carter family additions were born premature and are "under the lights" to help them normalize. But, what does "under the lights" mean and why are some newborns treated this way?
While sources cited by TMZ did not get into specific details regarding the twins' current condition, babies born prematurely are sometimes put under bili lights — a bright blue fluorescent or LED light located over the baby’s incubator — to help treat newborn jaundice, a condition that causes yellowing of a newborn baby's skin and eyes, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
Newborn jaundice is very common especially in premature babies — occurring about 60 percent of the time — and usually happens a few days after birth, according to March of Dimes. Most of the time, it's not dangerous and often goes away without treatment.
However, using light therapy is a common way to help lower bilirubin in the blood — the yellow compound that causes the discoloring — and eliminate the jaundice. While undergoing this treatment, babies wear only a diaper so their bodies can absorb as much light as possible and special eye shades simply to protect them from any irritation due to the bright lights, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
It's not clear how long Beyoncé's twins have been "under the lights," but it usually takes 24 to 48 hours for an infant's liver functions to start working properly and to handle the bilirubin itself with this type of treatment.
While there are still many unknowns about the newborns — such as their birthday, names, and gender(s) — Beyoncé and JAY-Z reportedly welcomed a boy and a girl last Monday, June 12, according to TMZ. Since then, the outlet also reported that the twins had a "minor issue" and are expected to be just fine, which could be referring to the jaundice.
"We're told a 'minor issue' surfaced, and as a result ... doctors do not feel comfortable releasing them," according to TMZ, and added that it's still not known when everyone will be released.
As the new parents have yet to make an official statement about their twins' arrival, it's impossible to say how premature they were if these reports are accurate and how much longer they're expected to stay in the hospital. According to the Mayo Clinic, a premature birth occurs before the start of the 37th week of pregnancy, or more than three weeks before the baby's due date. Beyoncé announced she was pregnant with the twins in February.
While fans certainly hope Queen Bey will make an announcement soon about the status of her bundles of joy, it makes complete sense that they haven't yet. Dealing with a medical situation of any degree can be a very stressful time. But considering how open and extravagant her Instagram reveals have been thus far, it's only a matter of time before the entire Beyhive is up to speed.