Neonatal refers to the care of vulnerable newborns during the initial stage of life and is also known as Neonatology. Neonatal care is provided by a whole team of specialists such as neonatologists, nurses, psychologists, dietitians, and social workers. They work together in a Neonatal Unit to treat and prevent newborn-associated complications.
There are four levels of neonatal care which are categorized by the America Academy of Pediatrics.
- Level I – Well newborn nursery
- Level II – Special care nursery
- Level III – Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
- Level IV – Regional NICU
The types of care that are provided in a neonatal unit are:
- Monitoring breathing and heart rate
- Parenteral nutrition
- Breathing support (ventilation)
- Phototherapy for jaundice
Neonatal care extends beyond the hospital stay. Parents are given additional education and support to guide them in taking care of their baby after they are discharged. Follow-up care is also provided to monitor the health of the baby and ensure optimal growth and development.