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Having a baby in the NICU can be a shock for many parents. Take some time and learn a bit more about parenting during this sensitive time.

NICU

Babies who are premature or have health issues need specialized care. Our team has the training, technology, TLC and transport options to care for the tiniest of patients.

Why might my baby need the NICU?

NICU stands for neonatal intensive care unit. Babies are admitted to the NICU for a variety of reasons. Some require just a short stay for minor conditions such as jaundice or feeding issues. Conditions that may require a longer stay in the NICU include:

  • Anemia, or not getting enough oxygen
  • Breathing problems
  • Growth problems during pregnancy (too small or too large)
  • Other complications that developed during pregnancy, such as problems with the baby's heart, kidneys or bones
  • Prematurity, or babies born before 37 weeks gestation

Who will care for my baby in the NICU?

NICUs are staffed by specially trained clinicians and providers who have advanced education and experience with sick newborns and premature babies. A provider can either be a neonatologists, having either a M.D. or D.O. degree, or a neonatal nurse practitioner. Both providers have advanced medical training in the specialized medical care of newborns. 

Neonatology clinicians include a specialized team of NICU nurse specialists, pharmacists, dietitians, lactation consultants, respiratory therapists and even physical therapists, all depending on what care your baby needs.

If your pregnancy is high-risk, we’ll also work closely with your maternal-fetal medicine specialist to prepare for your baby’s arrival.

When will I get to see my baby?

As a parent, you are welcome in the NICU any time, day or night, and encouraged to take an active part in caring for your baby. You can also call the NICU anytime for updates about your baby’s progress.

For information on other visitors such as friends, other family members and siblings, please refer to our downloadable Patient Guide, found in the large blue box at the top of this page.

What special precautions are required for visitors?

To protect the health of babies in the NICU, special attention is paid to:

  • Hand washing – Since newborn and premature babies can’t fight off infections, everyone should wash their hands carefully before entering the NICU to safeguard against illness.
  • Illness – If you feel ill or have a cold, fever, sore throat, cold sore or draining wound, tell your baby’s nurse or doctor. He or she can teach you about special precautions to avoid infecting your baby.
    If a child or visitor has a cold, flu, infection or was recently exposed to an illness, such as chickenpox or other virus, they will not be allowed to come into the NICU.
  • Privacy – To protect the confidentiality of our patients and families, we ask that you stay at your baby’s bedside and not ask about other babies in the NICU when you visit.

What support services are available to NICU parents and families?

It can be overwhelming when you have a baby in the NICU. To help you and your family find strength through the journey, many of our hospitals have support groups and patient advisory councils to connect current NICU parents with former NICU parents. In addition, some hospitals host monthly activities, like scrapbooking, for NICU families to interact with one another in a supportive and enjoyable environment.

In cases where you may be ready to leave the hospital but your little one still needs care in the NICU, many of our facilities offer guest rooms in the hospital to allow you to be close to your baby at all times.

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