Why is my baby's bilirubin levels fluctuating even after 96 hours of phototherapy?

Q. After 96 hours of phototherapy, my baby's bilirubin is fluctuating. What can be done?

Answered by
Dr. E. Venkata Ramana
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Oct 15, 2014 and last reviewed on: Jan 20, 2022

Dear doctor,

My 18 day old baby had gone for 96 hours of phototherapy. Her total bilirubin is fluctuating from 19.5, 14.5, 13.5, 13, 11, again 14 in 12 days. What can be done now?



Welcome to icliniq.com.

Before advising you about the child, I need some information:

  • What are the blood groups of baby and mother?
  • What was the birth weight of the baby?
  • Was the baby born at term or preterm?

Bilirubin may fluctuate during the treatment with phototherapy and the level of bilirubin depends on the maturation of the liver. And the rate of production of bilirubin in the child depends on the cause of raised bilirubin.

If there is any incompatibility of blood groups between the baby and the mother, the bilirubin may rise in spite of phototherapy.

But nothing to worry as the level of bilirubin of 14 is not dangerous around this day of life in case of babies with normal birth weight. It can be managed by phototherapy and adequate feeding of the child with breastfeeds to maintain hydration, which in turn lowers bilirubin.

In spite of phototherapy, if the bilirubin is increasing, then the child needs further investigations to look for other causes such as hemolysis, hypothyroidism, and other problems.

If the fluctuations persist, consult a paediatrician online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/paediatrician

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