Jaundice in newborns
Jaundice usually appears about three days after birth and disappears by the time the baby is two weeks old.
In premature babies, who are more prone to jaundice, it can take five to seven days to appear and usually lasts about three weeks. It also tends to last longer in babies who are breastfed, affectingsome babies for a few months.
If your baby has jaundice, their skin will look slightly yellow. The yellowing of the skin usually starts on the head and face, before spreading to the chest and stomach.
In some babies, the yellowing reaches their legs and arms. The yellowing may also increase if you press an area of skin down with your finger.
Changes in skin colour can be more difficult to spot if your baby has a darker skin tone. In these cases, yellowing may be more obvious elsewhere, such as:
A newborn baby withjaundice may also:
Your baby will usually be examined for signs of jaundice within 72 hours of being born, during the newborn physical examination.
If your baby develops signs of jaundice after this time, speak to your midwife, health visitoror GP as soon as possiblefor advice.
While jaundice isn't usually a cause for concern, it's important to determine whether your babyneeds treatment.
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.