The Bilirubin screen is a recommended blood test to check for the level of bilirubin in your baby's blood. Bilirubin is a yellow substance the body creates when it replaces old red blood cells. A high level of bilirubin causes jaundice, a condition which can cause your baby's skin and whites of their eyes to appear yellow. Jaundice is common in newborns and usually goes away on its own without treatment. High levels of bilirubin can be harmful if untreated.
The blood test for jaundice is usually done at the same time as the newborn screen. Feeding or holding your baby can help soothe them during the test.
If the test shows your baby has high levels of bilirubin, your baby may need follow-up tests or treatment. Treatment is done using phototherapy, where your baby is placed under a special blue light. The light helps your baby's liver to break down bilirubin. This treatment may also be offered via BC Women's home phototherapy program.
For more information: Jaundice and your newborn.