New Born Baby Jaundice

Jaundice is a common condition in new born, when a new born baby has high levels of bilirubin in the the blood . Bilirubin is a yellow type substance that the body creates when it replaces old red blood cells. Highlevels of bilirubin make your baby's skin and whites of the eyes look yellow. This is basically jaundice.


The liver should filter the bilirubin from the blood, and change it into a form that allows it to be passed out from the body in stools. In newborn babies, the bilirubin builds up too fast for the liver to filter it all out, causing jaundice. Most babies will develop jaundice in the first few days of life because:
  • While you are pregnant, your baby's bilirubin is removed by the placenta and your liver. After the birth, your baby's liver has to take over the job of removing the bilirubin and this can take a little while.
  • It is common for a newborn baby to have extra red blood cells that are broken down after birth, so more bilirubin is produced.

How to know if my baby jaundice?

If your baby is jaundiced his skin will appear to be yellow. You will notice it three to five days after his birth. It is best seen in good daylight. Jaundice usually appears in the face and then moves to the chest, abdomen, arms and legs as the bilirubin level increases. The whites of his eyes may also be yellow. Jaundice may be harder to see in babies with darker skin. A yellow tinge to the skin, usually appearing first on the face and scalp. Palms of the hands and soles of the feet turning yellow (in severe jaundice) .Feeding difficulties
Which babies get high levels of jaundice?
Babies who may be more likely to get jaundice include:
  • Premature babies.
  • Babies with an infection.
  • Rhesus or Rh babies

Treating jaundice

Usually newborn jaundice is not harmful. For most babies, jaundice usually gets better without treatment within 1 to 2 weeks. Treatment is usually only recommended if tests show a baby has very high levels of bilirubin in their blood .This is because there is a small risk that the bilirubin could pass into the brain and cause brain damage. There are a number of very effective treatments used to quickly reduce bilirubin levels in new born baby, including: Sometimes special blue lights are used on infants whose levels are very high. This is called phototherapy. These lights work by helping to break down bilirubin in the skin. In the most severe cases of jaundice, an exchange transfusion is required. In this procedure, the baby's blood is replaced with fresh blood. Treating severely jaundiced babies with intravenous immunoglobulin may also be very effective at reducing bilirubin levels. Most babies respond well to treatment and can leave hospital after a few days.