Risk factorsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Major risk factors for jaundice, particularly severe jaundice that can cause complications, include:
- Premature birth. A premature baby may not be able to process bilirubin as quickly as full-term babies do. Also, he or she may feed less and have fewer bowel movements. These conditions result in less bilirubin eliminated in your baby's stool.
- Bruising during birth. Sometimes babies are bruised during the delivery process. If your newborn has bruises, he or she may have a higher level of bilirubin from the breakdown of more red blood cells.
- Blood type. If your blood type is different from your baby's, your baby may have received antibodies from you through your placenta that cause his or her blood cells to break down more quickly.
- Breast-feeding. Breast-fed babies have a higher risk of jaundice, particularly those who are having difficulty nursing or not getting enough nutrition from breast-feeding. Dehydration and low intake of calories from poor breast-feeding may contribute to the onset of jaundice.
- Jaundice. American Academy of Pediatrics. http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/Pages/Jaundice.aspx. Accessed Feb. 24, 2011.
- Management of hyperbilirubinemia in the newborn infant 35 or more weeks of gestation. American Academy of Pediatrics Policy. http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics;114/1/297. Accessed Feb. 24, 2011.
- Neonatal hyperbilirubinemia. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/sec19/ch274/ch274b.html?qt=neonatal%20hyperbilirubinemia&alt=sh. Accessed Feb. 24, 2011.
- Lease M, et al. Assessing jaundice in infants of 35-week gestation and greater. Current Opinion in Pediatrics. 2010;22:352.
- Cohen RS, et al. Understanding neonatal jaundice: A perspective on causation. Pediatric Neonatology. 2010;51:143.
- Wong RJ, et al. Treatment of unconjugated hyperbilirubinemia in term and late preterm infants. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Feb. 24, 2011.
- Moerschel SK, et al. A practical approach to neonatal jaundice. American Family Physician. 2008;77:1255.