This case-control study sought to determine whether rehospitalisation for jaundice in newborns is associated with the length of hospital stay after birth and to identify risk factors for and outcomes of rehospitalisation for jaundice. It was carried out among women who delivered a normal, term infant vaginally at any of 10 medical centres from 1992 to 1994. Cases were infants rehospitalised with jaundice within 14 days of birth. Controls were randomly selected from normal, term infants delivered vaginally but not rehospitalised within 90 days of birth. Maternal medical records for pregnancy, labour and delivery care, records for all the birth hospitalisations, and rehospitalisations for the cases were abstracted. The length of birth hospitalisation did not differ between case and control infants, whether length was measured as a categorical variable or as a continuous measure (median = 22.8 h for cases and 23.3 h for controls, P = 0.931). Rehospitalisation for jaundice was associated with race/ethnicity, primiparity, preterm birth, breast feeding and suspicion of jaundice during the birth hospitalisation. None of the rehospitalised infants died, were diagnosed with kernicterus or required resuscitation. Attention to risks associated with jaundice rehospitalisation might reduce this undesirable, but not commonly severe, outcome.