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Jaundice in Newborns


Jaundice is a yellow tint to a newborn's skin and the white part of the eyes. It is a sign that there's too much bilirubin in the baby's blood. This is called hyperbilirubinemia. Most babies with jaundice will get better without treatment, but they should be monitored carefully. If severe jaundice isn't treated, it can lead to serious lifelong problems.

Most babies have physiologic jaundice, which happens because a baby's organs aren't yet able to get rid of excess bilirubin very well. Some babies have breast milk jaundice, which starts from 10 to 14 days after birth. It's harmless and may last throughout breast-feeding. In rare cases, jaundice may be a sign of another condition, such as an infection, a digestive system problem, or blood-type incompatibility with the mother.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical ReviewerChuck Norlin, MD - Pediatrics
Last RevisedApril 19, 2013

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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