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Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

What is the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit?

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is a special area of the hospital that cares for newborn babies in need of intensive medical care. The NICU contains advanced technology and trained healthcare professionals specific to newborns. In some cases, babies who are not as sick, but need specialized care, may also be placed in the NICU.

Some instances that commonly require admittance to a NICU include:

  • preterm births
  • low birth weight
  • twins or triplets
  • health conditions (breathing trouble, infections, heart defects, birth defects, seizures)
  • medicine or resuscitation in the delivery room
  • need for IV therapy, extra oxygen or monitoring, or medicines

Through the care and services provided in the NICU, newborn babies can receive care in a setting specifically designed for their bodies and needs.

What is the difference between the NICU and the ICU?

Both the NICU and ICU care for critically ill patients, but the NICU is designed to care for newborn babies, whereas the ICU is intended for adults. This results in differences in beds and equipment, along with supervision since newborn babies cannot verbally express their discomfort while adult patients can.