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What You Need to Know about Jaundice after Birth: How to Spot it and What it Means

Paul Banas
Author Paul Banas
Submitted 17-11-2006

Babies are prone to jaundice in the first few days after birth. It is usually not something to get alarmed about and is quite common. It will usually not hurt your baby or cause any permanent damage.

Jaundice in babies is caused due to increased bilirubin levels in the baby’s blood. Bilirubin is a substance that is produced in the body when the red blood cells undergo processes related to their normal break down. Here are some facts that should help you put yourself at ease and not worry too much if your baby has jaundice:

  • If your baby’s skin appears to have a yellow tint, take it baby to a doctor immediately. The doctor will conduct a blood test to measure the level of bilirubin in it.

  • The bilirubin level may not be too high. In such a case you may be asked by the doctor to just feed your baby breast milk or formula more often.

  • If your baby has very high bilirubin levels it will need treatment with phototherapy which involves placing your baby under special colored lights.

  • Exchange transfusion is done if phototherapy does not work well enough. This treatment involves replacement of your baby’s blood from someone else.

  • Jaundice in babies lasts for a few days, as bilirubin levels normalize within 3-4 after they start rising.