What is the Role of NICU for Premature Baby

What is the Role of NICU for Premature Baby

The neonatal intensive care unit, more commonly referred to as NICU is an intensive care unit for newborns that are born prematurely. The welcoming of a new child into the family is, of course, one of the most wonderful moments of a person’s life but also complex as many physical and emotional changes occur for both the mother and the baby. 

The baby must learn to adjust to the physical adjustments outside the mother’s body as they cannot depend on the mother’s blood and placenta for important body functions. Newborns that need additional medical care after birth are often put into the NICU. The NICUs also take care of children who are not sick but might need specialised nursing care.

Why Might Babies Need NICU?

Some maternal factors wherein the baby might need NICU are:

  1. Drug or alcohol use
  2. High blood pressure (hypertension)
  3. Multiple Pregnancies
  4. Bleeding
  5. Diabetes
  6. Being younger than the age of sixteen or over the age of 40

The most common ailments in babies that require them to stay in NICU include:

  • Infection and Sepsis
  • Hypoglycaemia
  • Need for blood transfusion
  • Jaundice
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS)
  • Pneumonia
  • Apnea
  • Heart defects
  • Gastroschisis

In What Ways Is NICU Equipped?

  1. Incubators: Incubators are small beds enclosed in hard plastic in which the temperature is controlled to keep the baby’s body temperature to a constant where it is supposed to be at.
  2. Infant warmers: These are small beds with heaters, and due to it being opened it is easily accessible and helps babies to keep warm while being monitored.
  3. Monitors: Chest leads, pulse oximetry, temperature probe, blood pressure machines are all present here to keep a check on the vitals of your baby.
  4. Nasal Cannula: Some babies who need extra oxygen but not a ventilator, have a thin pipe that helps them to fulfil the requirement of oxygen and get hooked to a nasal cannula or an oxygen hood that is placed over their heads.
  5. Feeding tubes: Most premature babies who are sick cannot breastfeed and are not old enough to feed on a bottle, get this extra nutrition through feeding tubes. These tubes enter the baby’s body through the nose or mouth and go into the baby’s stomach.

Common Diseases with Which NICU Helps

NICUs is the best maternity hospital to treat a lot of diseases and conditions such as:

  1. Anemia- Not having enough blood cells
  2. Breathing Problems- Due to lungs not being completely developed
  3. BPD- Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia, as scary as this name sounds it is one of the most common respiratory diseases a newborn could perhaps face.
  4. Septal Defects- A septal defect is a hole in the newborn’s heart for which you might want to visit the best maternity hospital to give your kid the best treatment.
  5. Hypoglycemia- is the condition where the baby has low blood sugar. This can also be if the mother is a diabetic and is usually diagnosed shortly after the birth of the baby.

Parents are allowed to visit their babies in the NICU. A few relatives are also allowed to visit the baby but during special visiting hours and hygiene must be top-notch as the children in the NICU are prone to catching diseases and infections very fast.

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