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Updated November 22, 2006

Preemie in the NICU

Preemie in the NICU

Vincent Iannelli, MD
Definition: The NICU is also known as a neonatal intensive care unit and is the area of a hospital where sick babies, especially if they are premature, go once they are born.

Typically staffed by neonatologists and neonatal nurse practitioners, a NICU can offer the specialized care that premature babies and sicker full term babies may need.

In addition to preemies, babies with these common conditions are often treated in the NICU:

  • Anemia
  • Apnea
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD)
  • Bradycardia
  • Congenital Heart Disease
  • Intraventricular Hemorrhage
  • Jaundice
  • Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (MAS)
  • Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC)
  • Neonatal Seizures
  • Neonatal Sepsis
  • Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)
  • Polycythemia
  • Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn (TTN)
Not every hospital has a NICU though, and your baby that needs specialized care may need to be transfered to a hospital with a NICU after he is born if he gets sick. And not all NICU's are created equal. A very premature 25 week baby would likely still need to be transfered if she was born at a hospital with a Level I NICU or a Level II NICU. Typically, only a Level III NICU can provide the highly specialized care that such a premature baby would need.

Pronunciation: NICK-U
Also Known As: Special Care Nursery
Our baby started having trouble breathing after he was born and was quickly transfered to the NICU for further treatment.

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