Jaundice In Newborn Child: Symptoms, Types, and Treatment

Jaundice is a disease of the liver in which the skin turns yellow, and the eyes turn white. 

Jaundice is one of the most common problems in the new born.

Jaundice in children may be a sign of a more serious health problem. It occurs when the amount of bilirubin in the blood increases.

I had earlier shared Hyperbilirubinemia In Newborn I hope you read the post.

what causes jaundice in babies
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Table of Contents

Types of jaundice

Physiological Jaundice

About 60% of term babies and 70% of preterm babies are affected by this jaundice at 1st week after birth. it is known as a physiological jaundice


  • Immature liver
  • Increased bilirubin load on liver cells
  • Increased RBCs destruction
  • Decreased serum albumin concentration
  • Decreased bilirubin excretion
  • Defective bilirubin conjugation

Pathological Jaundice

  • Pathological jaundice is the most harmful jaundice in children.
  • Baby is affected by this jaundice, mostly within 24 hours after birth.

Breast milk Jaundice

  • It is late-onset jaundice, which is occurring 5-6 days infant. 2-3% of babies are affected by this type of disease.
  • Causes:- It caused by breast milk factor like, Pregnanediol, fatty acid, B glucuronidase 

Breastfeeding Jaundice

  • This jaundice is affected by that child who has not got an adequate amount of breast milk or breastfeeding.
  • 10-25% of breastfed babies are affected by this type of jaundice.

I have already covered Breastfeeding And It’s Techniques in depth:

Causes of jaundice

  • Suddenly raised bilirubin level 
  • Liver disease
  • Incompatibility of blood
  • Neonate sepsis
  • Hereditary spherocytosis
  • Metabolic disorder
  • Galactosemia
  • Hypothyroidism

Also see: Premature Infant: Cause, Treatment, And Health Problem In Pregnancy

Symptoms of jaundice

  • Yellow discoloration of the skin
  • Lethargy
  • Refusal to feed
  • Dark urine and stool

Diagnostic evaluation of jaundice

  • Physical examination
  • Serum bilirubin estimation:- above 5 mg/ dl
  • Noninvasive method:-Ingram micrometer
  • Transcutaneous bilirubin meter

Management of jaundice

  • Exchange blood transfusion
  • Phototherapy – Phototherapy used for fluorescent light for the conversion of unconjugated bilirubin into conjugated bilirubin
  • Phototherapy is working on three principles:-
  • Geometricisomerization
  • Structural isomerization
  • Oxidation 

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Treatment of jaundice

  • Bilirubin absorbed the blue light 420-500nm maximum, and the daylight and white light are 550-600nm. That is why it is less effective.
  • In this technique, we use a combination of white and blue light.
  • Baby should be kept naked except diaper on the body.
  • Eyes of the infant should shield to prevent eye patches and protect the damage of the retina.
  • Keep baby at a distance of about 45 cm from light sources.
  • Baby’s position should be changed frequently.
  • Expose all body parts in front of light sources.

Complications of jaundice

A Complication of Phototherapy

  • Increase environmental and body temperature
  • Retinal damage
  • Bronze baby syndrome
  • Congenital erythropoietin porphyria

A Complication of Jaundice

  • Transient encephalopathy (neurological dysfunction)
  • Kernicterus (toxicity of bilirubin)

Phase 1

  • Poor sucking
  • Lethargy
  • Hypotonic

Phase 2

  • Fever
  • Hypotonic
  • Opisthotonus position

Phase 3

  • Pitch cry
  • Convulsions
  • Death may occur

Apart from these article, I recommend you to read following posts that will help you to reduce the risk:

Still have any questions about jaundice? Ask in the comments section!

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