Neonatal Intensive Care

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, also referred to as the Neonatal ICU, or NICU, is a specialized critical care unit within a hospital that cares for and treats premature and sick infants. A Neonatal ICU is staffed by neonatologists, neonatal nurse practitioners, neonatal nurses. Pediatricians and other specialized physicians will also follow and contribute to the care of infants in the Neonatal ICU.

Each Neanotal ICU functions as either a level 4, level 3, level 2, or level 1 NICU. These levels are determined by the types of infants they are capable of caring for. Level 4 neonatal units can care for the most sick and premature infants, providing life support treatments such as ECMO. Level 3 neonatal units can provide care for extremely premature infants, as well as provide respiratory treatments via ventilators and oscillators. Level 2 and level 1 neonatal units will care for infants that do not need certain specialized care that level 3 and 4 NICUs provide.

In the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or NICU, babies born prematurely are often admitted to the unit for critical care. Neonatal infants are not fully developed, as prematurity involves some unique physical traits. Parents with a premature infant will look at their tiny baby, and see an infant that is very different that a full-term newborn infant.
There are many features and appearances specific to preterm infants, mostly due to the infant not having fully developed in the mother’s uterus. The more premature an infant is in the NICU, the more likely he or she will be to have some or all of these features. Over time, as the premature baby gets older, these features will start to disappear, and the infant will start to less like a preemie, and more like a newborn infant.
Neonatal ICU help parents with babies in the NICU understand the neonatal environment, as well as what lies in store for them and their precious baby in the coming days, weeks, or months.
Neonatal Intensive Care Units are the most advanced critical newborn infant care units. They can be overwhelming at first, but parents find comfort in knowing that their baby is being cared for with the the utmost skill and knowledge, and is being given the best chance at recovering from whatever difficult condition that has presented itself to them.