Jaundice in newborns
Your baby will bechecked for jaundice within 72 hours of being born during the newborn physical examination.
However, you should keep an eye out for signs of the conditionafter you return home asit cansometimes take up to a week to appear.
When you're at home with your baby, you should look out for yellowing of their skin or the whites of their eyes.Gently pressing your fingers on the tip of their nose or on their forehead can make it easier for you to spot any yellowing.
You should also check your baby'surine and poo. Your baby may have jaundice if their urineis yellow (a newborn baby'surine should be colourless) or their poo is pale.
You should speak to your midwife, health visitor or GP as soon as possible if you think your babymay havejaundice. Tests will need to be carried out to determine whether any treatment is necessary.
Your baby needs to be undressed during thisso their skin can be looked at under goodpreferably natural light.
Other things that may also be checked include:
If it's thought your baby has jaundice, the level ofbilirubin in their blood will need to be tested. This can be done using:
In most cases,abilirubinometeris used to check for jaundice in babies. Blood tests are usually only necessary if your baby developed jaundice within 24 hours of birth orthe reading is particularly high.
The level of bilirubin detected in your baby's blood is used to decide whether any treatment is necessary.
The blood is analysed to determine:
These tests help determine whether there's another underlying cause for the raised levels of bilirubin.
Jaundice is a common and usually harmless condition in newborn babies that causes yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes.
Symptoms of jaundice usually appear about three days after birth and disappear by the time the baby is two weeks old.
Jaundice is caused by too much bilirubin in the blood. This is known as hyperbilirubinaemia.
Your baby will be checked for jaundice within 72 hours of being born, but you should keep an eye out for signs of the condition after you return home.
You should see your GP or midwife if your baby develops jaundice. They'll be able to assess whether treatment is needed.
Kernicterus is a rare but serious complication of untreated jaundice in babies caused by excess bilirubin damaging the brain or central nervous system.