Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: Special Care for Special Challenges
Sometimes a baby faces special challenges upon entering the world. A premature birth, a difficult recovery or a birth defect may require a newborn to be admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or NICU. The NICU has 24-hour availability of in-house, experienced staff to provide comprehensive care for critically ill newborns and management of obstetric complications.
Franciscan Health neonatal intensive care units offer advanced procedures, technology and expertise to give very small or very ill newborns the best chance for a healthy start in life. Our team of doctors, nurses and other health professionals demonstrate the genuine caring, warmth and sincerity that bring one of our values, Respect for life, to the forefront and offering reassurance and confidence to parents and referring physicians alike.
Will my baby need the NICU?
Few parents expect it, but almost 10 percent of all babies born require special care in the NICU.
The reasons can vary and may include:
- Prematurity (born before 37 weeks of pregnancy)
- Early Term Infants (born at 37-39 weeks)
- Low birth weight (less than 5.5 pounds)
- Infant of diabetic mothers
- Heart problems
- Birth defects
- Respiratory problems
Each baby is evaluated individually by a medical team to determine the need for admission to the NICU. If a newborn has a heart condition or requires surgery, the baby will be admitted or will be transferred to an acute tertiary care center, but will usually return to the NICU until it's time to go home.
Who is on my baby's medical team?
The team of medical professionals who care for your baby is available 24 hours a day and led by a neonatologist, a physician who has special training in the care of sick and premature babies. Nurses in NICU have both the advanced training and the special touch to care for very small or very sick newborns. Many have years of experience - some three decades or more - and all are deeply involved in assessing new technology and treatment to continually improve the quality of care provided to their patients.