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Checks and tests for jaundice in newborn babies

Your GP or public health nurse will examine your baby. They will usually ask you to undress your baby. This is so they can check their skin in bright, natural light.

They will check your baby's eyes and gums. They may press lightly on your baby's skin. They will ask you if your baby had jaundice when they were born.

If your GP or public health nurse has any concerns, they may decide your baby needs more tests.

The first of these tests is done using a 'transcutaneous bilirubin metre' or a 'bilimeter'. This is a small device that is pressed gently against your baby's skin.

This test will not hurt your baby. It is usually done in a baby clinic or paediatric (children's) emergency department.

Other tests your baby might need include:

  • blood tests
  • tests for infection
  • a liver scan

These tests are usually done in the hospital.

page last reviewed: 17/05/2019
next review due: 17/05/2022