I have a new niece, Kaitlyn Marie, who is just crushing life so far, but my brother called me and asked all about neonatal jaundice, so here is some info to help you the next time you see this in the peds ED or someone you know calls you to ask.

Why are babies at risk for hyperbilirubinemia? They produce more (more RBCs with a shorter half life), they clear it less effectively (natural deficiency in UGT1a1 enzyme), and they have increased enterohepatic circulation of bilirubin. Babies who get dehydrated at at higher risk too.

Which neonates at risk for SEVERE hyperbilirubinemia?

How do you know if the level is safe?

You need to know hours of life and then you can calculate whether or not their level is safe

Use the Bhutani nomogram

or you can use an online calculator


What do you do if the level is high?

These babies get admitted and can either get phototherapy or exchange transfusion. These babies also need IV hydration.