Common things about Neonatal Jaundice everyone should know

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In the present world, 7 out of 10 newborns are getting neonatal jaundice. It looks very terrific, isn’t it! Today we will be talking about Neonatal Jaundice or Newborn jaundice and things related to it.

What is Neonatal/Newborn Jaundice?

Neonatal Jaundice or Newborn Jaundice is an ailment in which the bilirubin levels gets increased in infants. Bilirubin is a yellow substance that the body creates when it replaces old red blood cells.

infant with neonatal jaundice
infant with neonatal jaundice

Symptoms of Newborn Jaundice:

One can detect neonatal jaundice, by checking out the following symptoms-

1. skin and whites of the eyes getting yellow

2. feeling of tiredness in infant

Why it is caused?

There is a scientific cause for neonatal jaundice. It is common for the bilirubin level to be increased in first week of life. Upto 60% of neonates gets affected with this. Before getting delivered, baby’s liver is not so active. The role is played by placenta, an organ responsible for nutrition and other functioning of the baby.

After delivery, the liver starts functioning; which happens all of a sudden. This thing actually results in neonatal jaundice, and is treated when the liver functioning gets balanced.

Causes of Neonatal Jaundice:

Following are some of the possible causes for Neonatal jaundice-


Neonatal jaundice is not alike jaundice. It is all because of sudden change in environment and temperature, of the infant.

This doesn’t needs any hard treatment, and is cured within 6-8 days. There are two therapies to lower the Jaundice.

Phototherapy and Exchange transfusion.

Now, we shall be talking about these in description.

infant under phototherapy incubator
infant under phototherapy incubator


Phototherapy also called Light therapy is most common treatment in reducing bilirubin levels in newborn. If the jaundice is mild, then this process is applicable.

The treatment duration varies, as per the condition and effectiveness. It takes about 2-8 days for the treatment.

In this the baby is enclosed in crib (incubator), and fluorescent light is allowed to absorbed by baby’s skin. This converts the bilirubin into by-products and thus is removed by stools and urine.

Exchange transfusion:

exchange transfusion for severe jaundice
exchange transfusion for severe jaundice

Exchange transfusion in neonatal jaundice, is done when the infant is suffering from severe form of jaundice. If the phototherapy is not enough to lower bilirubin levels, then this process is used.

In this baby’s blood is exchanged or replaced by plasma or doner’s blood. This is painful one as is carried out via catheter.

How it can be prevented?

The prevention of Newborn jaundice in newborns is difficult and probably not in our hands. It has lots of causes, and it is difficult to detect the exact cause in an infant.

Following are some of the preventive measures for Neonatal jaundice.

1. While pregnancy, mother should go for Rh test and other possible complications. It decreases the chances of newborn jaundice in infants.

2. Direct exposure to sunlight is very helpful to prevent Jaundice in newborns. For this, expected mother should sit in sun for 1-2 hour daily.

3. Newborn should be observed for 72 hours, it is the period when the chances increases.

Why Newborn Jaundice is so common today, as it was very rare earlier?

Now a question arises, why neonatal jaundice is so common today. It has many reasons, but one of the most common and susceptible one is ‘cutting of umbilical cord earlier than right time’.

The right time to cut the umbilical cord is 30-50 minutes after the delivery. It allows the infant to adjust in new world and temperature, thus the chances of any such disease decreases.

But today, especially in normal deliveries the umbilical cord is cut at the same time, when the baby is delivered. This creates disturbance in temperature maintenance and makes baby harassed.

This actually  causes all sorts of birth deformities and neonatal jaundice as well.


Neonatal jaundice is not so severe but disturbs the parents as well as the relatives. None of us wants our baby to suffer from such things. Take care and make your life easier.

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