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Jaundice in Newborn – Every Parent Should Know

Jaundice is a common disease that affects most newborn babies and almost 10-15% of babies need treatment for this disease. Jaundice is a very substantial disease but the good factor is that due to passing years and development, the treatment options of this disease have enlarged. As the treatment facility and system have developed there is nothing to worry about anymore.

Causes of Jaundice to adults and babies

The reason for Jaundice is very different from newborn Jaundice. The adults mainly get affected by this disease due to irregular eating habits, consuming junk foods, and also sometimes caused by drinking unhealthy and bad quality water. Adults having blood problems can also get affected by Jaundice.

Whereas, the main reason of newborn getting affected by this disease are listed below:

Blood incompatibility-

If the child has a different blood group from their mother then there are high chances of the newborn getting affected by this disease. The incongruity of blood groups in newborns from their mother normally affects the red blood cells of the newborn making it dead and that is why they easily get affected by this disease.

Low Birth Weight-

The newborn whose weight is less than 2.5 kg easily gets affected by Jaundice. 70-80% of newborns whose weight is below 1.5 kg – 2 kg ought to require immediate treatment from the NICU.

Premature Baby-

If the baby is born before 37 weeks of actual delivery then that newborn is considered as the preterm or premature baby and needs a chamber with lights attached to it for treatment. Normally 70%-80% of newborns who are below 1.8 kg in weight need the light treatment method to heal their condition.

Insufficient Breast Feeding-

In India, this is also considered the most common cause of Jaundice in newborns. When the babies do not get a sufficient amount of breast milk especially in the time of summer, i.e., of March, April, and May. At this time the water level in babies gets very low causing dehydration and that is when Jaundice gets easily affected in the newborns.

Forceps Delivery-

You might have seen babies with swelled heads that might cause due to forceps delivery. This swelling of the head in newborns is commonly known as caput succedaneum or Cephalohematoma. This can also be a great reason for Jaundice.

Signs and Symptoms of Jaundice

At the time of delivery, the newborns face a daily check-up from the hospital and the nurses with other checkups follow up the Jaundice check-up too. Finding the symptoms of Jaundice in babies is very easy. If you find your baby turning pale or yellowish then you should immediately consult with your doctor. Usually, at the time of Jaundice, the Soles and the Palms of the babies turn yellowish or pale in color which is considered the most common symptom.

In hospitals, you can avail yourself of new equipment called the Transcutaneous Bilirubin (TcB) which functionalizes most easily. Due to this equipment, you do not have to pick blood from the newborn’s body. All you need to do is just place the equipment on the forehead of the babies and you will get a reading report of your newborn. If the reading is more than 15 then it is a matter of concern and the doctor in such cases performs further blood check-ups.

Treatment of Jaundice

Jaundice in newborns can be treated in the following ways:

  1. Phototherapy- This is the easiest form of treatment and can heal the condition of the baby within 2-3 days. The lights used in Phototherapy in good hospitals are highly effective and can cure the conditions of the babies within 2-3 days. 
  2. Blood Exchange- This is also a very effective form of treatment but due to the availability of new and improved equipment that doctors do not need this form of treatment. Only 1% of rare cases follow up this treatment method. Doctors normally suggest blood exchange after 1 or 2 months.

Have queries or concern ?

    Mandatory Follow-Ups

    Part of and more than a little newborn get a discharge within 1-2 days whereas some get the same within 3-4 days. The time you will bring your baby to your home it is highly recommended that you should visit your pediatrician doctor within two days.

    • To check whether they are getting the right amount of feeding.
    • To check the bodyweight of your newborn. 
    • To check whether your toddler is affected by jaundice or not. 


    Jaundice is very common in newborns but in modern times it is not a serious factor. All the information is mentioned above and with proper treatment, it can be cured.

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