A Guide To Neonatal Care: Understanding Early Signs is Key
Dr. Karthik Nagesh
5 Min Read
Dec 15, 2022
As one of India's biggest and most comprehensive healthcare practitioners, Manipal Hospitals' Department of Neonatology runs state of the art Newborn Intensive Care Units (NICU) for the care of neonatal babies that have fallen sick or have been born pre-maturely.
At Manipal Hospitals', each NICU is run by expert neonatologists who are assisted by a team of respiratory therapists, neonatal nursing experts and resident physicians. The combined expertise of the team and the advanced healthcare equipment in the NICU is crucial when it comes to ensuring the survival of newborns that are facing complications in their infancy.
It is very common for neonates to require blood transfusions while in the NICU. Since neonates are already in a weakened state, blood transfusions are often needed to help the neonate maintain enough blood for circulation. The blood transfusion is done through an intravenous line.
Thanks to advancement in neonatal care and the facilities available in the modern NICU, even premature babies that are born with as little as 24 weeks of gestation have significantly increased chances of survival. In December 2018, a baby born at just 245 grams with 23 weeks and 3 days of gestation was able to survive and after 5 months, was discharged from the hospital and is expected to live a healthy life.
Sometimes babies are born without fully developed body systems, which can make survival difficult. The lungs may not be able to breathe, the heart may not be pumping blood effectively etc.
The NICU is equipped with hi-tech apparatus that allows doctors to compensate for the underdevelopment of body systems in pre-term babies or undetected congenital defects, both of which endanger the survival of the newborn.
Illnesses commonly diagnosed and treated in the NICU
Equipment and services in the NICU - Incubator beds (used to replicate optimal conditions for neonates) - Oxygen hood - Neonatal ventilator - Resuscitation - IV infusion - Blood transfusion - Plasma transfusion - Neonatal health monitors (BP, heart rate, temperature, respiration) - Bedside ultrasound, echocardiogram - Lactation systems - Minimally invasive neonatal diagnostic kits - Transport incubators - Antibiotic treatment NICU Care levels - Level 1 care- For neonates that weigh over 1800 grams with a gestational maturity of 34 or more weeks - Level 2 care-For neonates that weigh less than 1800 grams, but more than 1200 grams, with a gestational maturity between 30 and 34 weeks. - Level 3 care-For neonates that weigh less than 1200 grams with a gestational maturity of less than 30 weeks.
The first challenge for the doctors is to incubate the neonate and maintain stability. After this is achieved, the neonate must be examined, diagnosed and treated for any complications that can threaten survivability. Neonatal nurses, respiratory therapists and lactation experts ensure that the neonate is given the right care and nutrition until it is possible to discharge the patient.
If the newborn's body systems are unable to support it sufficiently, NICU admittance becomes necessary. However, sometimes the neonate is admitted to the NICU to be kept under observation because of complications during birth.
● Early contractions ● Increased pelvic/abdominal pressure ● Continuous back pain ● Premature membrane rupture (water breaks early)
There are many factors that can contribute to preterm birth, and even those women with no known risk factors can go into labor prematurely. The best thing to do is to be in regular contact with your healthcare provider and to detect possibilities of preterm birth early on.
Due to the potential for pregnancy complications, it is important to be regular with your doctor and to investigate any unusual symptoms at the earliest.
Manipal Hospitals is dedicated to ensuring the best possible care for all its patients. The high-quality, life saving care provided to our patients in the NICU's is a testament to this.
Contact us for more information on our NICU and book an appointment with one of our Neonatal specialists today.