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What is jaundice in newborn babies?
Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes in newborn babies. It is caused by raised levels in the blood and tissues of bilirubin, a yellowish pigment found in bile.
What are the symptoms of jaundice in newborn babies?
The main symptom of jaundice is a yellow coloring of the skin and the whites of the eyes. Other symptoms can include unexpected levels of drowsiness, problems with feeding, light-colored stools and dark urine.
What causes jaundice in newborn babies?
Most cases of jaundice in newborn babies are caused by excess bilirubin in the blood, as the baby's liver is temporarily unable to break down all the bilirubin. The excess bilirubin normally clears within a week or two. In some cases, however, …
How common is jaundice in newborn babies?
Around three of every five (60%) full-term babies and four of every five (80%) premature babies show some signs of jaundice.
How is jaundice in newborn babies diagnosed?
Jaundice in newborn babies is diagnosed by a physical examination of the baby. In some cases, a blood test (performed via a heel prick test) may be recommended to measure the level of bilirubin in the blood.
How is jaundice in newborn babies treated?
Most babies do not need treatment for jaundice beyond monitoring and making sure they are feeding well. If necessary, phototherapy may be recommended. In this treatment the baby is exposed to a special blue light that helps to break down the …
What can be done at home to treat jaundice in newborn babies?
Ensuring a baby is feeding well can help to prevent or treat jaundice, as bilirubin is excreted through stools and urine. If you are experiencing difficulty with your baby's feeding, seek advice from a doctor, midwife or …
About this article
Author: Kellie Heywood
First answered: 25 Nov 2014
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
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Category: Jaundice in newborn babies