Monday, April 20, 2015

Neonatal Jaundice

              Jaundice is the yellow discoloration of the skin and the white part of eyes. It is due to the presence of too much bilirubin in blood of the baby. Bilirubin is formed when the body breaks down old red blood cells and the liver usually process and removes bilirubin from the body. Jaundice occurs usually when the livers are not fully developed or functionally resulting into inefficient removal of bilirubin from the blood.
           Common symptoms of jaundice are :-

  • Yellow coloration of skin and white part of eye
  • Fever
  • Poor feeding
  • White stool
  • Crankiness

          Reasons for neonatal jaundice maybe :-

  • Infections present at birth, like rubella, syphilis etc
  • Low oxygen level
  • Diseases that affect liver or biliary tract, such as cystic fibrosis or hepatitis.

Babies born premature are more likely to develop neonatal jaundice than a full term baby.

Usually bilirubin tests are conducted on new born babies to rule out any complication. Depending on the bilirubin levels, treatments are given to the child.

Treatment is not needed most of the time.

When treatment is needed, the type will depend on:

  • The baby's bilirubin level
  • How fast the level has been rising
  • Whether the baby was born early (babies born early are more likely to be treated at lower bilirubin levels)
  • How old the baby is

A baby will need treatment if the bilirubin level is too high or is rising too quickly.

If bilirubin is too high, then special blue lights are used, to break down bilirubin in skin. This process is called phototherapy.

  • The infant is placed under artificial light in a warm, enclosed bed to maintain a constant temperature.
  • The baby will wear only a diaper and special eye shades to protect the eyes.
  • Doctors recommend that breastfeeding be continued through phototherapy, if possible.
  • Rarely, the baby may have an intravenous (IV) line to deliver fluids.

Newborn jaundice is not harmful most of the time. For most babies, jaundice will get better without treatment within 1 to 2 weeks.

For babies who need treatment, the treatment is very often effective. Protection Status


  1. when I had my daughter 30 years ago treating jaundice was all the go and she was put under lights for periods of time. This meant she had to get fluids because they were worried about dehydration. She was already being supplemented with bottles because of various factors and this just added to it. We were coping with a bit of breast refusal as well. I am glad I am stubborn. I wanted to breastfeed and despite all these factors that were undermining breastfeeding being established I persisted and by about day 11 I was able to stop offering the complimentary feeds. Thankfully things have moved on since then and people don't panic any more when babies are a little yellow - no more routinely sticking them under lights and offering artificial milk feeds. Good info here. Philipa at

    1. Thank you Philipa...and hats off to you for being so stubborn ;)

  2. Good post....thanks for sharing.. very useful for me i will bookmark this for my future needs. Thanks. Fetal Monitor

  3. Great blog post and really helpful...... and your blog are very interesting and inspiring.



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