Expert advice about jaundice

Expert advice about jaundice

Dr Peter Ilves gives advice on dealing with jaundice.

 dealing with jaundice

'My daughter became jaundiced a few days after her birth but doctors tested her and said it would clear up without treatment. Why did this happen, and why didn’t my baby get phototherapy?'

Jaundice in a newborn is very common, and we often call it neonatal jaundice. It can look dramatic but in many cases is not significant, doesn’t need treatment and will get better on its own.

However, some babies have jaundice over a longer period – this can particularly be the case in those who are breastfed, although we don’t really know why. Jaundice is caused by a yellow pigment (bilirubin), which is released when red blood cells (haemoglobin) break down; usually the liver deals with it. However, the liver of a newborn baby is developing rapidly and can take up to two weeks to settle down. Also, a newborn has a high level of red blood cells that will naturally break down. This combination of factors means the pigment appears under the skin.

This is all normal for a baby; the jaundice often takes two to three days to appear and about 60 per cent of babies will have it, but only about five per cent will require any intervention. If jaundice is present immediately after birth there are other causes to look for. There may be a yellow tinge to the whites of the eyes, yellowing of the skin, and your baby’s urine can change colour too. If this occurs at any time, always report it to your midwife, GP, health visitor or paediatrician.

They will check the level of bilirubin in your baby’s blood, and your specialist will be able to say whether treatment is needed or your baby simply needs to be monitored. Good luck.

RELATED ARTICLES

Related Articles

Sex: during and after pregnancy
Pregnancy
Sex: during and after pregnancy
Sex: during and after pregnancy Pregnant, or just had a baby? Here are some...
How to be a happier mum
You and your body
How to be a happier mum
How to be a happier mum Everybody’s selling happiness this season, but what...
The perfect gift to grow with your little one
Baby
The perfect gift to grow with your little one
The perfect gift to grow with your little one Celebrate the birth of your baby...
25 important things you should know about Caesareans
Labour and Birth
25 important things you should know about Caesareans
25 important things you should know about Caesareans Around one in four UK...

keep-well-this-winterBaby & Toddler Health

Keep well this winter

It’s flu season, which means little ones and pregnant mamas should all be getting their flu vaccinations
babies-exposure-to-bacteria-could-prevent-asthmaBaby & Toddler Health

Babies' exposure to bacteria could prevent asthma

Being exposed to ‘good bacteria’ could prevent children from developing asthma
worlds-smallest-thermometerBaby & Toddler Health

Introducing the world's smallest thermometer

Just in time for flu season, the Wishbone Smart Thermometer is the smallest non-contact thermometer
win-a-tranquillity-crib-mattress-bundle-from-izziwotnotWin

Win a Tranquillity Crib & Mattress Bundle from Izziwotnot

Enter our competition for a chance to win a stunning Tranquillity Crib & Mattress Bundle worth £295
win-a-bundle-of-prizes-from-truprintWin

WIN a bundle of prizes from Truprint

Create something special with your memories and win prizes worth £65.
win-a-mam-bundle-worth-over-100Win

Win a MAM Bundle worth over £100!

Your chance to WIN and make every day baby life easier with the MAM Anti-Colic baby bottle.