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Neonatal- What is a NICU?
Author - Dr. Khushboo Kapasi
Consultant - MBBS, MD(PAEDIATRICS), Fellowship in Neonatal intensive care, PGPN at Motherhood Hospital Kharghar, Mumbai
Some babies may be born with health problems or can have a difficult birth due to preterm labour, where they need care and specialised treatment. In such cases, NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) dispenses the services of providing intensive medical care for the newborn.
Quick fact: Premature birth is the leading cause of death among young children.
Changes after birth
Before birth, the baby is dependent on the functions of the mother, where after coming to the world, its body’s system changes. While most of the babies have a smooth transition, some may have trouble making this change outside the womb. Babies may be born with health problems or can have a difficult birth due to preterm labor.
Therefore, special care must be dispensed for newborns that are sick or premature for which NICU has advanced technology along with trained professionals. Such babies are taken into NICU within 24 hours of their birth, where they stay as per their improving health condition. Some may stay for a few hours until they recover, or some may have to stay for weeks or months. Parents are allowed to visit the NICU and spend some time with the newborns. However, there are set visiting hours. If you are rooting for the best neonatologist doctors, gynaecologists and paeditricians, Motherhood hospital confers with the best NICU and services for pregnant women.
Babies who need NICU
Babies need special care for which NICU becomes important if they are preterm, have low birth weight i.e., less than 5.5 pounds, or may be suffering from a health condition which needs immediate and specialized care. In case of twins, triplets, or multiple babies, they can also be admitted to the NICU as such babies are born earlier and are usually smaller than the single birth babies. Besides, a newborn may be suffering from infections, cardiac problems, or any birth defects where they are taken care of in the NICU.
Factors leading to NICU
The common maternal factors that can be risky for a baby and increase the instances of getting admitted to NICU are:
- If a mother is too young below 16 years or older than 40
- A mother is consuming drugs and alcohol which can relate with preterm deliveries or birth defects
- Diabetes can risk the birth of a newborn if not controlled
- Bleeding can also pose a risk
- Multiple pregnancies like twins or triplets
- If there is too much or too little amniotic fluid
- Rupturing of the membranes or amniotic sac before time
While these are the factors pertaining to mother, there can be other delivery or baby related factors:
- Due to lack of oxygen, there can be changes in the organ system of the baby where they may lack proper development
- Abnormal positioning of the baby in the womb
- Umbilical cord gets wrapped around the neck of the baby
- If a baby is born before 37 weeks or more than 42 weeks
- Baby weighing less than 5 pounds
- Distress in respiration such as rapid breathing, grunting etc.
- Seizures and low blood sugar
- Requiring specialized treatments like blood transfusion
Services offered in a NICU
Once a baby is admitted in the NICU, specially trained healthcare providers that have expertise in dealing with the conditions of the newborn will dispense their services. While it is a sensitive area, visitors are supposed to sterilize their hands as babies can easily catch infections in the NICU. Besides, NICU is usually a quiet and calm place, as babies may get overwhelmed by the noise and light, whereupon lights are kept dimmed. Each baby inside the NICU is kept in an incubator or heated cot so that their bodies are placed at the right temperature. If there are some breathing problems, equipment such as ventilators may be kept along with machines that can deliver fluids, and medicines which are supplied via tubes in their veins. There are also monitors attached to the baby’s body to keep checking the heart rate, breathing rate and oxygen level of their blood.
At Motherhood Hospitals, we have a team of experienced super specialists backed by the latest in infrastructure and facilities. We have the best Neonatologist in Kharghar, Mumbai who aims to provide optimum state-of-the-art care for critically ill, as well as recovering, neonates and infants
Do take an appointment with the best women and child care hospital in Kharghar, Mumbai at a centre closest to you. Meet with our doctors who will carry out the required investigations, diagnose the issue and recommend the most appropriate treatment, enabling you to lead an active life.
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