animated goddess mdbs banner animated goddess

MoonDragon's Pediatric Information
Postpartum Care

(Instruction For Midwives)

Information obtained from "Heart and Hands" by Elizabeth Davis

For Informational Use Only.
For more detailed information, contact your health care provider
about options that may be available for your specific situation.

  • Neonatal Jaundice Introduction
  • Physiologic Jaundice Causes
  • Other Types of Jaundice
  • Physiologic Serum Levels
  • Signs & Symptoms
  • Neonatal Hepatic System
  • Conventional Medical Management
  • Risk Factors
  • Notify Your Midwife or Health Care Provider


    Neonatal jaundice is not the consuming concern it was a decade ago. We now recognize the vast majority of cases to be physiologic jaundice, unassociated with the dangerous rise in bilirubin characteristic of pathological types.

    Jaundice, the yellowing of the whites of the eyes and skin, is caused by a chemical called bilirubin. Newborn jaundice is very common. A large percentage of newborns do develop jaundice to some degree. Bilirubin is formed from the breakdown of red blood cells. The liver is responsible for processing the bilirubin. Newborns livers are not fully functioning. Jaundice occurs when the newborn's immature liver inefficiently processes the bilirubin.

    Most newborn jaundice will go away without intervention. there are some factors that can make jaundice worse and would alert your pediatrician to monitor your newborn closely. Pediatricians are not only concerned with the absolute level of jaundice, but how fast the levels are rising, as high levels of jaundice can cause some problems.

    newborn jaundice


    While in utero, the baby's need for oxygen is met by a high level of red blood cells in its circulation, higher than for most adults. Once the baby is born and breathing oxygen directly, excess red blood cells must be broken down and eliminated from its system. A byproduct of this breakdown is bilirubin, which imparts a yellow tinge to the baby's skin. This is physiologic jaundice. It generally manifests on the second or third day postpartum, and is remedied when the mother's milk comes in to flush the baby's system clean.



    Another kind of jaundice that seldom requires treatment is due to ABO incompatibility. This phenomenon is similar to Rh sensitization: if blood from a type-O mother transfers to her A or B type baby during delivery, the baby may develop excess bilirubin.


    Breast milk jaundice is yet another non-threatening condition caused by a hormone in mother's milk which can interfere with the baby's ability to break down bilirubin by inhibiting the enzyme glucuronyl transferase, which is needed for breaking down (conjugation) of bilirubin. Unlike most other varieties of jaundice, it is unique in that it manifests after the milk comes in. Breast milk jaundice incidence is less than 0.5 percent of full-term newborns. It occurs after the mature breast milk has come in and may last up to 6 weeks. The levels of unconjugated bilirubin rises beyond physiological limits (15 to 20 mg/dl) by the seventh day. If the nursing is discontinued for 12 to 24 hours. the levels will subside by 5 to 10 mg, and 3 to 5 days pass before the previous level is again reached. It is not necessary for the mothers to completely discontinue breastfeeding and women should not be made to feel that their milk is pathological to their babies.


    In contrast, pathological jaundice is caused by obstructed bile duct, liver disease, infection, or Rh hemolytic disease. This is easy to differentiate from physiologic jaundice as it generally manifests within the first 24 hours. However, jaundice from ABO incompatibility may also appear at this time. To be on the safe side, refer any jaundice on day one to a pediatrician. If jaundice is pathological, high levels of bilirubin may be nearly impossible for the baby to eliminate and may seep into the basal ganglia of the brain, leading to kernicterus, or permanent brain damage.

    (Total Serum bilirubin levels)
    Up to 24 hours
    2 to 5 mg/dl
    Nose: 3 mg
    Face: 5 mg
    Up to 48 hours
    9 mg/dl
    Chest: 7 mg
    Up to 3 to 5 days
    Less than 12 mg/dl
    Abdomen: 10 mg
    Legs: 12 mg
    Up to 7 days
    Usually less than 15 mg
    Palms: 20 mg

    newborn jaundice head to toe distribution


    Although physiologic, ABO, and breast milk jaundice are essentially normal and self-correcting, they can occasionally cause the baby to become lethargic and disinterested in nursing. If the characteristic yellow tinge is noted on the baby's face and neck but runs no lower than the nipple line, encourage the mother to nurse often and expose the baby to sunshine (with its body naked and eyes protected) for 30 minutes twice daily. If the baby's extremities appear jaundiced, consult a pediatrician.

    neonatal jaundice grading and assessment charts


    Conjugated bilirubin (direct, soluble bilirubin): The conjugated form of bilirubin is excreted from liver cells. Along with other components of bile, direct bilirubin is thus excreted into the biliary tract system, beginning with the smallest of these ducts (the bile canaliculi) and ultimately ending at the common bile duct, which inserts into the duodenum. There, by the action of the bacterial flora, bilirubin is converted to urobilirubinogen and stercobilin and eliminated by way of the urine and feces.
    Unconjugated bilirubin (indirect): The unconjugated bilirubin circulates bound to plasma albumin. Unbound bilirubin leaves the vascular bed and is deposited in body tissues (e.g., all organs, the skin, the sclera, oral mucous membranes), the resultant yellow coloring is termed jaundice.
    Total serum bilirubin is the sum of conjugated and unconjugated bilirubin.

    Hepatic immaturity, increased erythocyte (red blood cell) destruction, or the availability of inadequate serum albumin binding sites can result in hyperbilirubinemia (high bilirubin levels)



    Depending on the degree and type of jaundice, the baby may be hospitalized for treatment. The most commonly used treatment is ultraviolet light exposure (phototherapy), in which the infant is placed under an ultraviolet lamp for a few hours each day. The ultraviolet light breaks down bilirubin into a form which the infant liver can process and excrete. If the baby is placed under bili-lights, it will have blood drawn periodically to assess bilirubin levels. If the bili-lights are used, it is crucial that the baby's treatment be properly supervised, as dehydration, burning, and possible genetic damage can occur with excessive exposure.

    bilirubin UV treatment


    The newer mechanism of providing phototherapy for newborn jaundice is the biliblanket. The biliblanket is a blanket that can be wrapped around the baby or may be a pad which the baby can lie on. It uses a form of light that is found in sunlight, but the harmful ultraviolet light has been filtered out. The lighted blanket is placed directly against your newborn's skin and absorption of the light leads to the excretion of the bilirubin. This convenient and safe form of treatment can be used while your newborn is clothed, held or even nursed. Normally, newborns under phototherapy will have frequent, loose bowel movements as this is the way that the bilirubin is removed from the baby. The length of time the biliblanket is needed is determined by your health care practitioner based on the severity of the newborn's jaundice.

    infant wearing biliblanket


    When an infant is jaundiced, a biliblanket that is used continuously at home may help to decrease the bilirubin. The biliblanket is a long pad that shines a full spectrum fiber-optic light and it will not burn or harm your baby.



    1. Attach the hose to the machine by inserting it into the circular opening and then twisting it so that it remains securely in place. Attach power cord to machine.

    2. Cover the pad with one of the disposable cloths provided. Place the white side of the cloth onto the clear side of the pad (side without writing).

    3. Place the skin of the baby's back onto the white side of the covered pad. Your baby's head should not be placed on the pad, only the back. the hose should go towards the legs.

    4. You may either wrap the flaps that have an adhesive strip around the baby's chest to keep it in place or you ca choose not to use the flaps by removing them or tucking them under the pad.

    5. Wrap a blanket snugly around your baby, keeping the biliblanket directly against your baby's skin. The blanket should keep you from seeing the light from the biliblanket. The baby may also lie skin to skin on you with the biliblanket over the baby's back, but be sure to cover both of you with a blanket to keep the light away from your eyes.

    6. Plug the unit in and turn it on.

    7. Remove the biliblanket from the baby when changing diapers or bathing. However, the biliblanket should remain on as much as possible throughout the day and night. This will increase the chance that your baby's jaundice will improve by the next laboratory check.


    Babies kept in darkened rooms for the first few days tend to have higher bilirubin levels than those liberally exposed to sunlight. Lack of light is probably a more significant factor in extreme physiological jaundice than the favored theoretical cause, late cord clamping. Most midwives clamp the cord after it has ceased pulsing, and after placing the baby on the mother's belly or chest. They have very rarely had problems with severe jaundice except when lack of light has been a determining factor.

    Cold stress (it is important to keep newborns warm), asphyxia neonatorium (newborn respiratory distress syndrome or respiratory failure), and neonatal hypoglycemia contribute to pathological levels of bilirubin by interfering with albumin binding of bilirubin. Babies born to mothers whose labors have been induced or augmented with pitocin must be watched carefully. Pitocin Competes with bilirubin for binding sites, rendering elimination difficult. The same is true of certain drugs, such as diazepam, sulphonamides, steroids, and salicylates. Jaundiced babies also have increased risks of infections.


    Jaundice in the newborn period puts children at greater risk for autism, according to a study from Denmark. The researchers looked at over 700,000 full term newborn babies born between 1994 to 2004. They found that newborns that were jaundiced had higher rates of developing autistic spectrum disorders later in life. The risk was greater in newborns born to mothers who had previous children and to newborns born between October and March.

    The data is interesting, but how newborn jaundice and autism relate is a mystery. The study does not support a cause and effect relationship. It does not state that newborn jaundice causes autism, just that it might be related. It does seem, however, that newborn jaundice might be another piece of the confusing puzzle of how autism develops, and hopefully this puzzle can be figured out over the next few years.


  • You or your family member has questions about postpartum care and newborn jaundice.

  • MoonDragon's Pregnancy Information: Pregnancy Information & Survival Tips
    MoonDragon's Pregnancy Index
    MoonDragon's Womens Pregnancy Health Information Index
    MoonDragon's Pediatric Information Index
    MoonDragon's Parenting Information Index
    MoonDragon's Nutrition Information Index

    MoonDragon's Womens Health Index

    | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z |

    Health & Wellness Index


    Allspice Leaf Oil
    Angelica Oil
    Anise Oil
    Baobab Oil
    Basil Oil
    Bay Laurel Oil
    Bay Oil
    Benzoin Oil
    Bergamot Oil
    Black Pepper Oil
    Chamomile (German) Oil
    Cajuput Oil
    Calamus Oil
    Camphor (White) Oil
    Caraway Oil
    Cardamom Oil
    Carrot Seed Oil
    Catnip Oil
    Cedarwood Oil
    Chamomile Oil
    Cinnamon Oil
    Citronella Oil
    Clary-Sage Oil
    Clove Oil
    Coriander Oil
    Cypress Oil
    Dill Oil
    Eucalyptus Oil
    Fennel Oil
    Fir Needle Oil
    Frankincense Oil
    Geranium Oil
    German Chamomile Oil
    Ginger Oil
    Grapefruit Oil
    Helichrysum Oil
    Hyssop Oil
    Iris-Root Oil
    Jasmine Oil
    Juniper Oil
    Labdanum Oil
    Lavender Oil
    Lemon-Balm Oil
    Lemongrass Oil
    Lemon Oil
    Lime Oil
    Longleaf-Pine Oil
    Mandarin Oil
    Marjoram Oil
    Mimosa Oil
    Myrrh Oil
    Myrtle Oil
    Neroli Oil
    Niaouli Oil
    Nutmeg Oil
    Orange Oil
    Oregano Oil
    Palmarosa Oil
    Patchouli Oil
    Peppermint Oil
    Peru-Balsam Oil
    Petitgrain Oil
    Pine-Long Leaf Oil
    Pine-Needle Oil
    Pine-Swiss Oil
    Rosemary Oil
    Rose Oil
    Rosewood Oil
    Sage Oil
    Sandalwood Oil
    Savory Oil
    Spearmint Oil
    Spikenard Oil
    Swiss-Pine Oil
    Tangerine Oil
    Tea-Tree Oil
    Thyme Oil
    Vanilla Oil
    Verbena Oil
    Vetiver Oil
    Violet Oil
    White-Camphor Oil
    Yarrow Oil
    Ylang-Ylang Oil
    Healing Baths For Colds
    Herbal Cleansers
    Using Essential Oils


    Almond, Sweet Oil
    Apricot Kernel Oil
    Argan Oil
    Arnica Oil
    Avocado Oil
    Baobab Oil
    Black Cumin Oil
    Black Currant Oil
    Black Seed Oil
    Borage Seed Oil
    Calendula Oil
    Camelina Oil
    Castor Oil
    Coconut Oil
    Comfrey Oil
    Evening Primrose Oil
    Flaxseed Oil
    Grapeseed Oil
    Hazelnut Oil
    Hemp Seed Oil
    Jojoba Oil
    Kukui Nut Oil
    Macadamia Nut Oil
    Meadowfoam Seed Oil
    Mullein Oil
    Neem Oil
    Olive Oil
    Palm Oil
    Plantain Oil
    Plum Kernel Oil
    Poke Root Oil
    Pomegranate Seed Oil
    Pumpkin Seed Oil
    Rosehip Seed Oil
    Safflower Oil
    Sea Buckthorn Oil
    Sesame Seed Oil
    Shea Nut Oil
    Soybean Oil
    St. Johns Wort Oil
    Sunflower Oil
    Tamanu Oil
    Vitamin E Oil
    Wheat Germ Oil


  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Amino Acids Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Antioxidants Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Enzymes Information
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Herbs Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Homeopathics Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Hydrosols Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Minerals Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Mineral Introduction
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Dietary & Cosmetic Supplements Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Dietary Supplements Introduction
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Specialty Supplements
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamins Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamins Introduction


  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: 4 Basic Nutrients
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Avoid Foods That Contain Additives & Artificial Ingredients
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Is Aspartame A Safe Sugar Substitute?
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Guidelines For Selecting & Preparing Foods
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Foods That Destroy
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Foods That Heal
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: The Micronutrients: Vitamins & Minerals
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Avoid Overcooking Your Foods
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Phytochemicals
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Increase Your Consumption of Raw Produce
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Limit Your Use of Salt
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Use Proper Cooking Utensils
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Choosing The Best Water & Types of Water


  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Information Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutritional Therapy Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutritional Analysis Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutritional Diet Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutritional Recipe Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Therapy: Preparing Produce for Juicing
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Food Additives Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Food Safety Links
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Index
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Articles
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Back Pain
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Labor & Birth
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Blending Chart
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Essential Oil Details
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Links
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Miscarriage
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Post Partum
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Childbearing
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Problems in Pregnancy & Birthing
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Chart of Essential Oils #1
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Chart of Essential Oils #2
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Tips
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Uses
  • MoonDragon's Alternative Health Index
  • MoonDragon's Alternative Health Information Overview
  • MoonDragon's Alternative Health Therapy Index
  • MoonDragon's Alternative Health: Touch & Movement Therapies Index
  • MoonDragon's Alternative Health Therapy: Touch & Movement: Aromatherapy
  • MoonDragon's Alternative Therapy: Touch & Movement - Massage Therapy
  • MoonDragon's Alternative Health: Therapeutic Massage
  • MoonDragon's Holistic Health Links Page 1
  • MoonDragon's Holistic Health Links Page 2
  • MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Nutrition Basics Index
  • MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Therapy Index
  • MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Massage Therapy
  • MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Hydrotherapy
  • MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Pain Control Therapy
  • MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Relaxation Therapy
  • MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Steam Inhalation Therapy
  • MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Therapy - Herbal Oils Index


    Starwest Botanicals

    Educational materials and health products are available through
    Use the search box provided below to search for a particular item.

 Herbs, Foods, Supplements, Bath & Body

    Herbs Direct

    Chinese Herbs Direct

    Ayurvedic Herbs Direct

    Pet Herbs Direct

    ShareASale Merchant-Affiliate Program


    A website map to help you find what you are looking for on's Website. Available pages have been listed under appropriate directory headings.