Why you want a NICU on-site when delivering your baby

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Dr. George Tripp with the Davis Hospital and Medical Center joined Fox 13 to discuss the importance of an on-site Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in delivering a healthy baby.

Childbirth is the biggest change our body makes throughout our lives. There are large changes in the lungs and circulatory system. Fortunately these changes usually go smoothly. There are times, though, when newborns need help. This can be a result of prematurity, mechanical difficulties of getting baby out or from infection when newborns will need support and specialized care from a neonatal intensive care unit.

What is the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)?

The NICU is a place in the hospital that includes a specialized team of medical professionals and equipment to provide life saving care for premature or sick babies. In the NICU, a neonatologist, along with an extensive team of trained personnel, will work with the parents to stabilize a sick newborn and get him or her on the right track toward a happy healthy life.

Why is the NICU an important part of the hospital?

NICUs are designed for babies in critical conditions. Premature or sick babies can be sensitive to the environment around them, so generally lighting is kept low and noise is kept to a minimum.Monitors keep constant track of heart and respiratory rates and sometimes even blood pressures.Most premature babies are kept in warmers or incubators until they are big enough to keep their temperatures normal on their own.

Although the technology in the NICU is impressive, the medical team is the true backbone of the unit. NICU nurses and other highly trained personnel, such as respiratory therapists, monitor the babies at all times. In addition to the primary medical staff, emotional support is provided to the parents through social workers, volunteers, support groups, and hospital chaplains. All parents are encouraged to be a major part of their baby’s progress in the NICU, which includes learning about the special care a premature baby needs at home.