Jaundice in Newborns
Jaundice (yellow skin color) happens in half to three-quarters of all newborns, typically appearing in the first few days of life, when a chemical called bilirubin can build up in a baby's blood and cause the skin to look yellow.
You should always contact your doctor if your baby has jaundice. This guide will help you understand jaundice in newborns and what your baby's doctor will want to do if your baby looks jaundiced.
This guide should not be used if your baby was born more than five weeks before he or she was expected, because premature babies (less than 35 weeks gestation) have different needs.
Jaundice usually is noticed first on the face, in the whites of a baby's eyes, and then on the rest of the body. The best way to notice the yellow color is in good light, such as daylight or fluorescent light, but it always is more difficult to see jaundice in infants with darker skin color.
Does your newborn have jaundice?
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.