While this article isn’t from New Zealand, we thought that some parents might find this recent article useful in understanding jaundice.

Jaundice is one of the commonest reasons parents visit Paediatricians. It refers to the yellow colouration of the skin and the white of the eye (sclera) caused by the accumulation of a yellow pigment called “bilirubin” in the skin and mucus membranes. It is normal for everyone to have low levels of bilirubin in their blood. Jaundice has many causes and we are sure everyone will know liver infection like hepatitis causes jaundice. But babies are peculiar in that so they get jaundice for various normal reasons – hence it is called PHYSIOLOGICAL jaundice.

Approximatley 60 percent of full-term and 80 percent of premature babies develop jaundice in the first week of life, and in most of the babies with jaundice there is no underlying disease, and this early jaundice (termed ‘physiologcial jaundice’) is generally harmless.

Read the full article here