Types of Jaundice Newborn | What is the Main Cause of Jaundice?

Introduction of jaundice?

Jaundice, also known as icterus, is a yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes. Too much bilirubin, a yellow molecule found in haemoglobin, causes the disease (the substance that carries oxygen in your red blood cells). The body creates new cells to replace red blood cells when they break down. The liver processes the old ones, but if the liver is unable to manage the breaking down of blood cells, bilirubin builds up in the body.

During the first week of life, many healthy infants have mild jaundice. Though jaundice can strike at any age and signal a problem, it typically fades away. Jaundice can also be caused by:

  • Infections of the blood
  • Syndromes caused by genetic mutations
  • Hepatitis and cirrhosis are examples of liver disorders.
  • Bile duct obstruction
  • Infections
  • Medicines

What is Jaundice in a Newborn?

The yellow tinge to your baby’s skin and eyes indicates that there is too much bilirubin in his or her blood, a condition known as hyperbilirubinemia. This can happen as early as the second day after delivery in certain newborns. The disease generally goes away on its own in moderate situations. If your baby’s bilirubin levels are within the usual range for a newborn, the doctor will release him or her.

My kid has acquired Jaundice for no apparent reason.

When your baby begins to breathe after birth, the extra red blood cells they had in the uterus begin to break down, resulting in an increase in bilirubin levels. Because your baby’s liver is immature in the first few days of life and lacks the capacity to properly eliminate bilirubin, the skin takes on the characteristic yellow hue of jaundice. The colour generally intensifies for the first five days before lightening and clearing up in one to two weeks. Physiological jaundice is the common name for this illness.

When should I be concerned about my child’s Jaundice?

The majority of instances of jaundice are self-resolving. Other health concerns must be explored if the jaundice-causing bilirubin levels increase within 24 hours of delivery or remain high after a week. Infection in the bloodstream, some viral infections, abnormalities in enzymes or the membrane of your child’s red cells, or liver problems are all possible reasons. Biliary atresia, which causes a blockage of the bile ducts, is the most prevalent cause of newborn jaundice that necessitates surgery. Untreated jaundice can cause kernicterus, a kind of brain injury that is exceedingly rare.


A high bilirubin level in the blood causes jaundice Bilirubin is created and produced when red blood cells are broken down. The liver normally removes bilirubin (a yellow material), which is then expelled in the faeces and urine. When bilirubin is produced quicker than it can be eliminated, bilirubin levels rise.

Because babies produce two to three times more bilirubin than adults, jaundice is frequent. A modest to moderate rise in bilirubin levels causes newborn jaundice, which affects virtually all infants and is typically not dangerous. It generally reaches its peak three to four days after delivery and then fades away one to two weeks later. Because normal elimination systems grow with age, jaundice may take longer to disappear in newborns born at 38 weeks or less and those who are substantially jaundiced.

Severe hyperbilirubinemia is a more dangerous disease that affects newborns who have greater amounts of bilirubin in their blood. Within the first 24 hours following delivery, babies may suffer severe hyperbilirubinemia. If your baby’s skin becomes a bright yellow colour, contact or visit your doctor very away.

  • Because more red blood cells are broken down in infants, bilirubin levels are greater (and as a result, more bilirubin is produced). This might be linked to:
  • During birth, there was some bruising and some minor tissue damage.
  • If the blood groups and types of a woman and her infant are not compatible (“INCOMPATIBLE”), The mother’s immune system may harm the baby’s red blood cells.
  • Red blood cell disintegration has inherited causes (such as deficiency of an enzyme called glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase [G6PD], which may occur more frequently in Black, Mediterranean, or Asian populations).
  • Because a newborn’s liver and intestines are not completely formed, bilirubin is eliminated more slowly in a baby than in an adult. It takes much longer for Eastern Asian newborns to develop the ability to eliminate bilirubin.


  1. Physiological (physiological) jaundice: This kind of jaundice affects a large number of babies. The majority of the time, it isn’t serious. It isn’t bothersome and fades gone on its own after two weeks.
  • Prematurity jaundice: The livers of premature newborns are typically not matured enough to properly break down bilirubin. Even if their bilirubin levels aren’t as high, they’re frequently treated.
  • Breastfeeding jaundice: occurs when a baby does not receive enough breast milk. This might arise as a result of breastfeeding issues or because the mother’s milk hasn’t arrived yet.
  • Breast milk jaundice: Bilirubin levels can sometimes rise due to chemicals in breast milk. They can also make it more difficult for the body of the infant to eliminate bilirubin through the stool. This kind begins after 3 to 5 days and gradually improves over a period of weeks.

Jaundice can be caused by an underlying issue in some circumstances. Bleeding, infection, or a liver problem are all possibilities.

Jaundice is more probable in your newborn if he or she is:

  1. Preterm Birth (before 38 weeks): A premature baby’s liver is more likely to be immature. He or she may have fewer bowel motions than a fully developed child. This means that a preterm infant may not be able to eliminate bilirubin as efficiently as a full-term newborn.
  • Bruised at Birth: Bruises cause an increase in red blood cells, which must be converted into bilirubin. This can cause bilirubin levels to rise in the blood.
  • Nursing Difficulties: Babies that are having difficulty breastfeeding may be dehydrated or have a poor calorie intake. This might make you more prone to jaundice. If you or your infant is experiencing difficulties nursing, get medical advice.

What is the Treatment for Jaundice?

The majority of newborns with jaundice do not require treatment. If your baby has mild jaundice, her doctor may advise you to nurse her more frequently so she can have more bowel movements. This aids in the removal of bilirubin. In formula-fed newborns, jaundice generally clears completely within two weeks. In breastfed newborns, it can continue for up to 3 weeks. If your baby’s jaundice lasts longer than three weeks, consult his doctor.

If your baby’s jaundice is more severe, she may require therapy that includes:


Treatment with phototherapy (also called light therapy or bili lights). This is when your baby is exposed to special lights to assist her body in converting bilirubin into a form that can be excreted in her urine. Your baby is just wearing a diaper and wearing a protection over her eyes while she is beneath the lights. Some newborns can benefit from lying on a light therapy blanket (also known as a fibre optic blanket) that contains small brilliant lights. The blanket can be used in place of, or in addition to, the overhead lights. Phototherapy is safe for your infant and may be done in the hospital or at home.

Exchange Transfusion

Transfusion of blood. If phototherapy fails and your baby’s bilirubin levels remain high, she may require an exchange transfusion, which is a form of blood transfusion. An exchange transfusion removes bilirubin from your baby’s blood by replacing tiny quantities of it with new blood.

Intravenous Immunoglobulin

Intravenous immunoglobulin is a kind of immunoglobulin that is injected into the (also called IVIg). Your infant may get immunoglobulin (a blood protein) by a needle into a vein if you and your baby have different blood types. This may aid in the treatment of her jaundice, reducing the likelihood of her requiring an exchange transfusion.

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