About 60% of all babies have jaundice. Some babies are more likely to have severe jaundice and higher bilirubin levels than others. Babies with any of the following risk factors need close monitoring and early jaundice management:
Babies born before 37 weeks, or 8.5 months, of pregnancy might have jaundice because their liver is not fully developed. The young liver might not be able to get rid of so much bilirubin.
Jaundice may be missed or not recognized in a baby with darker skin color. Checking the gums and inner lips may detect jaundice. If there is any doubt, a bilirubin test should be done.
A baby born to an East Asian or Mediterranean family is at a higher risk of becoming jaundiced. Also, some families inherit conditions (such as G6PDdeficiency), and their babies are more likely to get jaundice.
A baby who is not eating, wetting, or stooling well in the first few days of life is more likely to get jaundice.
A baby with a sister or brother that had jaundice is more likely to develop jaundice.
A baby with bruises at birth is more likely to get jaundice. A bruise forms when blood leaks out of a blood vessel and causes the skin to look black and blue. The healing of large bruises can cause high levels of bilirubin and your baby might get jaundice.
Women with an O blood type or Rh negative blood factor might have babies with higher bilirubin levels. A mother with Rh incompatibility should be given Rhogam.