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Pregnancy & Newborns
The NICU
Newborn Warning Signs
Warning signs that may indicate a possible problem in your newborn include no urine in the first 24 hours at home; a rectal temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher; or a rapid breathing rate.
When a Baby Has Difficulty After Birth
Babies who may have difficulty at birth are those born prematurely, those who experienced a difficult delivery, maternal illness, or those with birth defects.
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
NICUs provide specialized care for the tiniest patients. NICUs may also have intermediate or continuing care areas for babies who are not as sick but do need specialized nursing care.
Warmth and Temperature Regulation
Premature and low birthweight babies may be too immature to regulate their own temperature, even in a warm environment. Even full-term and healthy newborns may not be able to maintain their body temperature if the environment is too cold.
Nutrition and Fluids
When your baby is in the neonatal intensive care unit, your main concern is getting her healthy and home. Taking food by the mouth and gaining weight are two important steps toward that goal. Find out what happens to help your baby get there, including the role you play.
Testing and Lab Procedures for the Newborn in Intensive Care
It’s important that babies in intensive care undergo regular testing so they get the important care they need. Here are common seven lab tests used in the newborn intensive care unit. Make sure to ask your baby’s doctor about them.
Intravenous Line and Tubes
Because most babies in the NICU are too small or sick to take milk feedings, medications and fluids are often given through their veins or arteries.
Procedures and Equipment in NICU
NICUs are equipped with complex machines and devices to monitor nearly every system of a baby's body—temperature, heart rate, breathing, oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, and blood pressure.
Special Care
Premature babies especially need a supportive environment to help them continue to mature and develop as they would in their mother's womb.
Parenting in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
In most cases, you can be with your baby in the NICU at any time. The staff of the NICU will give you instructions on special handwashing techniques before entering the area.
Taking Your Baby Home
Your baby is finally ready to come home. Turn your nervous energy into positive action. Make a checklist for what you and she needs before leaving the hospital so that you can create a safe home environment. Here’s a list of items to get you started.
© 2013 Charleston Area Medical Center Health System, Inc.