What causes newborn jaundice?

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Newborn jaundice - What causes it, how to treat it and other medical advice by Dr Lee Le Ye.


Understand what cause jaundice in newborns

My baby has newborn jaundice. What causes it?

Newborn jaundice is due to excessive breakdown of the babies’ blood.

This can occur in ABO incompatibility due to the blood group “O VE ladies” who have either A ve, or B ve blood group babies and their body have natural antibodies which attack their babies blood causing it to breakdown.

In Rhesus incompatibility, Rhesus – ladies who had previous rhesus positive babies will carry antibodies which attack their babies blood causing this to breakdown. Hence it is very important for Rhesus -ve ladies to get RHOGAM during the pregnancy.

In Glucose 6 Phosphate Dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, the babies are deficient in this enzyme which maintain the life of the red blood cells and they undergo breakage when exposed to certain drugs or mothballs and fava beans. This condition is present in up to 2-4 per cent in Singapore and much higher in other Asian countries like Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar population and much higher in other Asian countries like Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar

2. Newborn jaundice due to extravastion of blood such as babies with cephalohematoma (blood collection outside the head)

3. Newborn jaundice due to delayed excretion of the bilirubin pigments like delayed conjugation or increased enterohepatic circulation when the babies do not pass meconium well or are not fed due to various reasons.

Newborn Jaundice Question Answered By

Dr Lee Le Ye

Associate Consultant

Department of Neonatology

National University Hospital, Singapore

Got a question? Drop an email to [email protected] and we’ll get a Doctor reply back within a week.


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Written by

Dr Lee