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Jaundice In Newborns | When to worry and how to treat?

Jaundice In Newborns is one of a common concern for many new parents. There are many factors responsible for Jaundice in Newborns. Although it is not much of a concern, however, precaution is required, and we need to closely monitor the newborn affected with Jaundice.

As a part of parenting, we have all been worried about our baby’s jaundice in the first few weeks of their life. We have all wondered why the small babies get jaundice. Many a times we relate it with the fact that jaundice in grown children and adults is always because of some serious problems related to Liver malfunction.

As parents we correlate with this background information and become more worried about our newborn health. Hence, by the end of this blog, we will help you to allay your worries on newborn’s jaundice, and you will get awareness about the right way to deal with it and be more confident about our baby’s well-being.

Explore: Child Care

Also Read: Common Worries of Parents About the Newborn Baby

Jaundice In Newborns

About 60-70 percent of newborns across the world get jaundice after a few days of their birth. It is very common and hence, we can conclude here that it is not a serious disease condition, moreover it is a physiological/normal condition. 2 main organs involved in producing jaundice are blood and liver. Fetal Blood cells have a short life span and start breaking down which produces the byproduct “Bilirubin” responsible for yellowish appearance of baby’s skin and eye.

Liver is responsible for consumption and excretion of this bilirubin via stool and urine gradually. So as a newborn is transitioning to the world, their liver enzymes are not mature enough immediately to help excrete the bilirubin leading to transient rise in jaundice in newborns.

Special Situations Affecting Newborn

Most of the times the blood group of mother and baby are responsible for Jaundice in Newborns. If the mother’s blood group is RH -Ve (negative) and newborn’s blood group is RH +Ve (positive) then it is more likely that the newborn will have jaundice. If the mother is O+ve and the newborn is either A+ve or B+ve, the newborn will be affected by Jaundice. This is commonly known as ABO incompatibility.

How Long Jaundice Last in Newborn?

This is one of the major and obvious question once we know the origin of this jaundice problem. We must be aware about how the jaundice in newborn will end. Moreover, it is very concerning as “How Long Jaundice Last in Newborn?” or “How long will it take to cure?”. Let us look into it.

As the liver enzymes mature enough in 1-2 weeks’ time, jaundice will be less visible and does not bother our babies rest of the life.

Why Doctors Suggest Phototherapy for Jaundice in Newborns?

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Phototherapy | Blue Light Treatment for Jaundice

All the newborns with jaundice do not require phototherapy treatment, only few (5-10%) may need this treatment. Sometimes, balance of bilirubin production and its excretion can be affected by various reasons like increased breakdown of baby’s RBC as in cases of hemolytic jaundice due to Blood group incompatibility, infections, increased RBCs, blood collection in Baby’s body parts.

Similarly, if excretion of bilirubin in babies is affected due to inherent/genetic conditions, jaundice can rise quickly. In both above situations our doctors assess the baby, do the blood bilirubin levels and decide for treatment in form of phototherapy depending upon the bilirubin levels as prescribed by internationally acknowledged bilirubin charts.

Is Phototherapy Essential for Jaundice in Newborns?

YES, if the bilirubin levels are exceeding or approaching dangerous levels as per the chart, phototherapy has to be started as early as possible, otherwise very high bilirubin levels can damage the newborn brain and cause debilitating problems in future like Cerebral Palsy, Autistic spectrum disorders, speech and visual problems.

How Often Should One Visit Doctor for Jaundice in Newborns?

Neonatologists and Pediatricians are trained in taking care of newborns with jaundice, and guide you for timely treatment if jaundice is high, or when to come for rechecking.
Please follow your baby’s doctor advise and follow up as per their prescribed schedule till jaundice worry is over.

Myths about treatment of Jaundice in Newborns.

  • If we keep our baby under morning sunlight, jaundice can be treated.
  • Mother’s eating habits affects the jaundice levels in the newborns.
  • Jaundice will recover on its own, no need to see a doctor.
  • Bad Omen causes newborn jaundice.
  • Newborns with less weight get Jaundice and those with more weight do not get it.
  • Phototherapy causes darkening of baby’s skin color.
  • Applying special preparation on skin reduces newborn Jaundice in Newborns.


Nirmal Gautam
Dr. Nirmal Gautam

Dr. Nirmal Gautam is a renowned pediatrician and medical professional with 14 years of experience in the healthcare industry. He specializes in preventive medicine and believes in the power of education to promote overall well-being. Through his engaging and informative articles, Dr. Gautam aims to empower individuals to take charge of their health and make informed decisions.

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