DID YOU KNOW?
Fifty-thousand micro preemies are born each year in the United States, and although the survival rate ranges between 10-80%, more of these tiny babies are surviving each year due to increases in medical knowledge and technological advancements.
WHAT IS A NICU?
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is an intensive care unit that specializes in the care of ill or premature newborn babies. The NICU combines advanced technology and trained health care professionals to provide special care to the tiniest patients.
Level I nurseries provide care for babies born close to their due date, typically caring for premature babies born at 35 weeks or later with minor medical problems. These nurseries are also equipped to stabilize babies born earlier than 35 weeks or with medical conditions that require transport to a higher level NICU.
There are four levels to NICU care that include:
These special care nurseries care for babies born at 32 weeks or greater and can treat newborns with some health problems of prematurity such as jaundice or trouble eating. Some Level II nurseries provide respiratory assistance, but their main responsibility is closely monitoring moderately pre-term babies.
A Level III NICU can provide intensive care for babies born at all gestational ages ranging from 27 weeks and above. These nurseries offer readily available access to a full range of pediatric medical subspecialties, such as respiratory support for babies who have trouble breathing or providing intravenous fluids to newborns unable to take breast milk feedings.
This unit is able to provide the medical needs that previous NICUs cannot. Level IV NICUs can be found within hospitals that can perform surgical repair of complex congenital or acquired conditions as well as care for babies known as “micro preemies.” These tiny patients are babies born between 22 and 26 weeks of gestation or weigh less than 1 pound 13 ounces.
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