Infant Jaundice, Jaundice of Newborn

Infant Jaundice,  Jaundice of Newborn

 Infant jaundice is a condition which is characterized by yellow discoloration of a newborn baby’s skin and eyes. This condition arises due to excess of bilirubin in the baby’s blood. It is particularly a common condition in preterm babies i-e babies born before 38 weeks’ gestation.

  • Yellow discoloration or skin and sclera (white part) of eye.
  • This is the major sign by which baby presents in infant jaundice. Yellow discoloration is checked in good lighting conditions, preferably in natural daylight.

Main cause of jaundice is excess bilirubin, hyperbilirubinemia, in the blood. Yellow colour of jaundice is due to this pigment. Bilirubin is produce normally as a product from the breakdown of used red blood cells. In infants, as liver is not developed as much, liver become unable to remove these pigments from blood leading to the appearance of jaundice. Other conditions that causes jaundice are internal haemorrhage, sepsis, viral or bacterial infections, enzyme deficiency, liver malfunction.


Complications include:

  • Acute bilirubin encephalopathy, in which bilirubin enters the brain. This condition is characterized by restlessness, difficulty waking, high-pitched crying, backward arching of the neck and body, poor feeding.
  • Kernicterus
  • Loss of hearing
  • Athetoid cerebral palsy

Diagnosis of this condition depends upon detailed medical history and complete general physical examination of the patient. Other tests include:

  • Blood tests
  • Transcutaneous bilirubinometer, which is a skin test to assess the severity of jaundice.
  • urine tests

Treatment options include:

  • Enhancing the nutrition and calories of food to prevent weight loss
  • phototherapy
  • Injecting intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg).
  • Exchange transfusion of blood is needed rarely.
Lifestyle and home remedies
  • In cases of mild jaundice changing of food and nutrition intake will better the condition
  • Increase the frequency of feeding the baby so that increase amount of bilirubin could excrete through stools
  • Giving supplemental feedings
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