Research Medical Center offers a Level IIIb Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). It’s a nineteen-bed, family-centered unit next to the labor and delivery unit so that recovering mothers can be close to their infants. Advanced equipment supports newborns with respiratory difficulties or other high-risk complications. Neonatologists (pediatricians who received specialized training and education specifically for treating babies), neonatal nurse practitioners, nurses, respiratory therapists, lactation consultants and a social worker make up the neonatal team.
The obstetricians and neonatologists at Research Medical Center care for mothers in preterm labor and care for the baby throughout their entire hospital stay. We care for babies who are born as early as 23 weeks (or 4 months premature) through full-term. Read one mother's experience.
Prematurity is the most common reason for a neonatal ICU admission.
Common complications of prematurity can include:
- Immature feeding, such as weak suck or uncoordinated suck and swallow
- Intolerance to feeding
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Immature temperature regulation, therefore a need for an incubator called an isolette.
- Breathing problems such as:
- Eye problems such as Retinopathy of Prematurity*
- Infections such as neonatal sepsis
- Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC)
- Apnea of Prematurity, or stoppage of breathing
- A specific heart condition called Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)
- A specific brain bleeding called Intraventricular Hemorrhage (IVH)
Other problems or conditions that are diagnosed and managed by the NICU team in newborns include:
- Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN)
- Congenital heart disease such as:
- Abdominal Wall Defects such as Omphalocele or Gastroschisis
- Newborn jaundice (yellowing of the skin from high bilirubin levels)
- Neonatal Seizures
- Group B Streptococcal disease (GBS)
- Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
- Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome)
- Congenital Hernia of the Diaphragm
The NICU is staffed by neonatal nurse practitioners around the clock. A neonatal nurse practitioner and/or a neonatologist attend all high-risk deliveries, and provide support to the physicians in the newborn nursery.
For information on "Parenting in the NICU," please visit the March of Dimes.
* For more information regarding these complications, please visit the National Institutes of Health site at nih.gov.