Causes of Neonatal Jaundice

Excessive red blood cell breakdown, and/or an immature liver are the reasons for Neonatal Jaundice.

Neonatal Jaundice can develop due to the following physiological reasons:

  • Newborns have a high RBC volume and their breakdown increases the quantity of bilirubin in the blood.
  • The newborn's liver is not adequately mature to process the excess bilirubin.

Other causes include:

  • Blood group mismatch - ABO and Rh incompatibility
  • Abnormalities in the shape and function of RBC leading to increased breakdown
  • Extensive bruising during birth
  • Cephalohematoma
  • Congenital infections, e.g., Toxoplasmosis, Rubella, Cytomegalovirus, Herpes Simplex, Syphilis etc.
  • Infection (Hepatitis B) or other defects in the liver that impede the elimination of bilirubin

Breast-feeding can increase the chances of an infant developing Neonatal Jaundice. In a poorly feeding baby, bowel movements are infrequent and this prevents the bilirubin from being excreted in the stools. Mothers should, therefore, increase the frequency of breast-feeding in order to facilitate passage of stools. However, sometimes, high levels of a hormone present in the breast milk can interfere with the processing of bilirubin. In such cases breast-feeding may need to be interrupted till the bilirubin levels come down to normal.


  1. Mather, Cotton. The Angel of Bethesda. 1724 [Reprinted in Jones GW (ed). Barre, MA: American Antiquarian Society and Barre Publishers; 1972, p. 191.


vaishali9524 Saturday, August 9, 2014

To prevent newborns from jaundice..keep your baby well hydrated with breast milk..and Frequent feedings [up to 12 times a day] encourage frequent bowel movements, which help remove bilirubin through the stools....

mehak464 Saturday, February 23, 2013

sir my baby billuribin ranges from 20-30 os this range is dangerous we also using phototherophy what u suggest.

avdhut85 Thursday, October 7, 2010

sir my baby's billrubin is 17 for how many days phototherapy shud be don

r.arunkumar Thursday, July 15, 2010

neonatal jaundice measurement by new technology using radiation

guest Tuesday, September 16, 2008

prevalence of kernicterus among Libyan full term healthy babies Discussion The results demonstrated that hyperbilirubinemia in full term otherwise healthy infants can lead to severe encephalopathy ,and what remain controversial is the bilirubin level that results in such injury, it is still undetermined whether a continuous linear relationship or a threshold level exists for bilirubin toxicity,we have noticed that all babies with serum bilirubin >40 mg developed Kernicterus ,and those with serum bilirubin ranges between 20-25mg had no kernicterus,and those with serum bilirubin ranges 25-35mg some developed Kernicterus and others had no adverse effect till now, although intellectual out come need years of follow up to declared that they are normal. we have seen that 34 babies out of 70 who received ET developed Kernicterus either because they seek medical advice late or their serum bilirubin was too high ,the other 8 babies who was not treated with ET, 5 of them developed Kernicterus on follow up . The prevalence of kernicterus among our babies was 15%,we tried to compare with worldwide prevalence.

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