Newborn Jaundice – A Condition That Occurs Due To High Bilirubin Levels!

Newborn jaundiceNewborn jaundice is a condition due to the high levels of bilirubin in the blood.

It makes the infant’s skin and whites of the eyes look yellow.

Bilirubin is produced due to the breakdown of the red blood cells.

Normally bilirubin is excreted through the liver as bile through the intestine.

Newborn jaundice occurs due to the following reasons:

  • A newborn baby cannot remove adequate bilirubin from the blood because the baby is having undeveloped liver.
  • More bilirubin is produced that cannot be handled by the infant’s liver.
  • Large amount of bilirubin is reabsorbed by the intestine before getting rid of the baby’s stool.

Physiological jaundice:

More than 50% of the newborn are affected by this. It appears at 2 to 4 days age and then disappears by 1to 2 weeks .

It is due to the immaturity of the baby’s liver that leads to slow processing of bilirubin.

Breast milk jaundice:

1to2% is affected. It is caused by the substance produced in the mother’s milk that is capable of producing high level of bilirubin up to 20 mg.

This substance stops the excretion of bilirubin through the intestine. It starts from 4 to 7 days and lasts from 3 to 10 weeks.

Blood group incompatibility (Rh or ABO problems):

If the blood type of the infant differs from the mother, mother may produce antibodies that destroy the RBC’s of the infant. This leads to sudden increase in the level of the bilirubin in the baby’s blood.

Incompatibility occurs during the first day of life. Once Rh problem cause severe jaundice, it can be prevented by giving the Rh immune globulin injections to the mother within 72 hours after delivery.

Newborn jaundice symptoms:

It occurs around second or third day of life. It starts at head and proceeds downwards. Baby’s face will appear yellow first, then chest, stomach and finally the legs. Whites of eyes also appear yellow.

Now-a-days many babies are released from hospital at 1 or 2 days of life. Parents should carefully watch their infants to detect the jaundice.


A simple test is conducted by pressing your finger tip on the tip of your baby’s nose and forehead. If the skin appears white, then there is no jaundice. If it appears yellow, then there is jaundice. At this moment you should consult a doctor.

A small sample of blood is tested for the measure of bilirubin level. The seriousness depends upon the child’s age and presence of other medical conditions.

Phototherapy treatment given to the infant’s:

At the age of 5 or 7 days the baby can take care of excessive bilirubin level. Incase of high levels phototherapy treatment helps to get rid of bilirubin by altering or making it easier for baby’s liver to get rid of it.

Incase of very high levels the baby is re-admitted in the hospitals for treatment. So, newborn jaundice can be cured by giving phototherapy treatment to the infants.

Posted in: Health & Safety

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  1. Reena says:

    My baby suffered a lot as his jaundice was rised too high. Bilirubin was rised to 20.2 mg/dl on the very second day of his birth i.e., on 11 th of Dec 2008. Doctor says that it was due to some Anti – c antibodies are present in a titer of 1:128 in my blood and also in babys blood. As bilirubin was high a double volume exchange blood transfusion was done and also he was treated with two dose of IV lg in view of immune hemolytic jaundice. Now my baby is fine and I am feeding him every 2 hrs. Still i have doubt that can it happen again in futire? I am still worried about my baby’s health. Can u give any suggestion or any advice for this.

  2. Dorothy says:

    My grandbaby was born on Jan 14,On Jan 15, she had an exchange transfusion.Bilirubin was 16,today it is 7 and the Dr. discharged her from the hospital.What was your babys bilirubin when he was discharged,My son and daughter in law are afraid she was discharged too early.I’m glad your baby is doing good,just worried.She was also given 2 doses of IVLg.

  3. Manish says:

    My baby is 7 days old. On 4 th day of his life his Bilirubin coung was 20.48 . After that he was treated with phototherapy. After phototherapy the count goes down to 11.55. Now after two days it again rise upto 16. Please suggest

  4. Phil Nelson says:

    Thanks for all the useful information. Your insight is very keen. Keep it up.

  5. farshid says:

    My baby boy is 45 days old. We checked his belurubin today and was 7.6mg . Is this a normal level? What steps need to be taken to lower this?

  6. upendra says:

    my sister baby born after 9 yrs. he was suffered from jaundice after 21 days he was death why?

  7. hoke74 says:

    Jaundice in newborn babies is very dangerous. Don’t ever let a doctor or nurse or midwife dismiss it as simple breastfeeding jaundice without getting a blood test. My son developed jaundice when he was about a week old. My midwife said it was breastfeeding jaundice and to put him undressed in daylight. After a further few weeks, it still wasn’t any better so I went to my Doctor. Doctor said breastfeeding jaundice and it could take time to clear. A few weeks later, my son started bruising easily and then I found blood in his stools. The hospital admitted him…. Liver consultant at the hospital said… breastfeeding jaundice, don’t worry. Luckily a junior doctor picked up on the fact that one of the bilirubin counts from the blood test was too high and this meant that it WASN’T breastfeeding jaundice. A week later we were in a specialist liver hospital where our 8 weeks old son had to have major surgery to save his life. In the future my son will need a liver transplant and he will have liver disease for the rest of his life.


  8. hoke74 says:

    P.S. – My sons bilirubin levels were 198 – yes 198. We were told that once they were under 20 that was considered ‘safe’. They are now down to 7.

  9. rahul mehta says:

    My baby’s bilirubin has come to 24 on the 4th day. They have put him on phototherapy. Is this the best treatment? What are the possible side-effects of this level?

  10. dheeraj says:

    respected sir
    i am dheeraj from jammu state jammu and kashmir my son age 2 and half years since birth to 3rd day of birth suffered from hyperbilirubin till date at a present bilirubin 24. kindly suggest and treatment of my son in the name of vignesh.

    thanking you

  11. ashish says:

    my son is 3 days old, his jaundice level is 18.9, doctor has kept him in for phototherapy. please suggest how long is it will take to down the jaundice level down through phototherapy.

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