Neonatal Jaundice

Jaundice in newborn babies up to a week old is called physiological jaundice. Jaundice that lasts for more than two weeks is called prolonged jaundice. Prolonged neonatal jaundice can be a sign of serious liver disease. Neonatal jaundice that develops in the first 24 hours of a baby’s life requires urgent medical attention.

Causes of neonatal jaundice

  • Physiological jaundice
  • Maternal-fetal blood group incompatibility (Rh, ABO)
  • Breast milk jaundice

Certain chemicals in breast milk are thought to be responsible. It is usually a harmless condition that resolves spontaneously

  • Breastfeeding jaundice
    It occurs when the breastfed newborn does not receive adequate breast milk intake.
  • Cephalohematoma (a collection of blood under the scalp)
  • Prematurity
  • Metabolic liver disease
  • Hypothyroidism
  • G6PD deficiency
  • Gilbert’s syndrome
  • Crigler-Najjar syndrome
  • Hepatitis

 Symptoms And Signs          

  • Slightly yellow skin
  • Yellow colouration (whites of eyes, mouth, soles of feet, palms of hands, chest, stomach)
  • Lethargy
  • Changes in muscle tone
  • High-pitched crying
  • Seizures
  • Pruritus
  • Poor sucking or feeding
  • Sleepiness
  • Limpness
  • Dark urine
  • White or creamy faeces


  • Blood test– Bilirubin, ABORh
  • Urine test
  • Stool test


Jaundice usually disappears after 10 to 14 days, but it may last up to three weeks in premature babies

  • Phototherapy (treatment with UV light)
  • An exchange transfusion



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