What is NICU?
NICU stands for Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Newborn babies who are in need of intensive care once they are born are taken care of in the NICU follow up clinic. There is advanced technology available in the clinic which is needed for the required special care the newborn needs. Also, the healthcare professionals present in this department are specially trained for taking care of infants. Visit Manipal Hospitals for NICU Follow-up Clinic in Yeshwanthpur.
Although some infants do not require intensive care, they may need exceptional nursing facilities which are available in this department. Most preterm babies need intensive care to cope with different types of challenges associated with being away from the mother’s food supply, breathing on their own, digesting food, functioning of their kidneys, and many other reasons.
Babies who are born before 37 weeks of pregnancy generally do not have optimum weight and need special care to survive. Also, twins, triplets and multiplets typically have lower birth weights and are born much in advance. Babies may also have other health complications that are listed as follows,
Birth weight lower than 2500 gms.
Hypoglycemia or decreased sugar in the blood.
Resuscitated babies after delivery.
Respiratory illnesses, apnea, quick breathing and snorting during breathing.
Smaller size compared to the normal.
Diseases like Streptococcus (group B), Herpes, Chlamydia, etc.
Blood transfusion is required.
Extra oxygen supply.
Besides these, there are some maternal factors that have to be also considered as they impact the baby directly.
Drinking alcohol or drug abuse during pregnancy.
Hypertension (High blood pressure).
Very less or excessive amniotic fluid.
Have Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
Compromised immunity due to diseases like AIDS.
Multiple babies (Twins, triplets, quadruplets, multiplets).
Rupture of amniotic sac or membranes (Water bag) prematurely.
The age of the mother is less than 16 years or above 40 years.
There are some delivery factors that also have to be taken into account as to why the baby will have to be cared for in the NICU.
When the umbilical cord or Nuchal cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck and causing distress to the baby.
When meconium (baby’s primary faeces) is released into the amniotic fluid.
Delivery with the use of forceps or caesarean section delivery.
Lack of oxygen causes foetal distress or asphyxia at birth leading to alterations in the baby’s organ systems.
When the baby is delivered with the buttocks out first position or a breech birth or any other position.
Specialists in the NICU
A neonatologist is a doctor who specialises in the care of babies born prematurely or babies with illnesses at birth.
A respiratory specialist is a doctor who has advanced training in administering respiratory support to the baby through the use of external oxygen and breathing machines.
Lactation specialists are specialised health care workers who are qualified with certified courses. They assist in the baby sucking from the mother’s breasts, pumping milk from the breasts and ensuring the baby gets fed enough.
Dieticians are specialised doctors who make sure that the baby gets sufficient calories, and supplements like vitamins and minerals for good growth.
Pharmacists assist the doctors in selecting suitable medicines to be administered to the baby in the NICU. They ensure that the right doses are given at the correct levels.