Newborn Jaundice: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 4/21/2020

Newborn jaundice, also referred to as neonatal jaundice, refers to yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice) in a newborn infant. It is a very common condition in newborns and is not a disease itself.

A variety of other medical conditions can cause severe neonatal jaundice. Medical professionals must carefully monitor jaundice in a newborn because if bilirubin levels rise too high without treatment, that can lead to brain damage, known as kernicterus. Signs and symptoms sometimes associated with neonatal jaundice include

  • fussiness,
  • fever, and an
  • ill appearance.

Cause of newborn jaundice

An excess of the pigment bilirubin in a newborn's blood causes newborn jaundice. Newborn jaundice is most frequently a result of the newborn's immature liver.

Other newborn jaundice symptoms and signs

  • Fever
  • Fussiness
  • Ill Appearance
  • Yellowing of the Whites of the Eyes and Skin


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.