Skip to content

Health & Baby

Font Size

Premature Infant - Getting to Know the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

If your premature infant (preemie) is admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) after birth, you will find out about new technologies, new medical words, and new rules and procedures.

You will depend on the NICU staff members, including neonatologists and nurses, to know how to care for your infant and to be your teachers. With their help, you can quickly learn about your infant's needs and what you can do for your infant. Throughout your infant's stay in the NICU, you will want to keep open communication with the staff.

NICU technology

First you'll learn to scrub up before visiting your infant's bedside. When you're there, you may be surprised by the number of machines and instruments surrounding your child. Remember that because of these machines your premature infant has a much greater chance of doing well than ever before.

At a minimum, your infant will be warmed and watched over with equipment that includes:

  • An isolette or overhead heater.
  • A temperature probe, to keep track of body temperature.
  • A heart monitor, to keep track of breathing and heart rate.
  • A pulse oximeter to keep track of how much oxygen is in the blood.

If your infant has additional medical needs, other tests and equipment also may be used, including:

    1|2
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    mother on phone holding baby
    When you should call 911.
    Mother with baby
    Unexpected ways your life will change.
     
    baby acne
    What’s normal – and what’s not.
    baby asleep on moms shoulder
    Help your baby get the sleep he needs.
     

    mother holding baby at night
    ARTICLE
    mother with sick child
    QUIZ
     
    Chinese mother breast feeding newborn baby girl
    SLIDESHOW
    Track Your Babys Vaccines
    TOOL
     
    Baby Napping 10 Dos And Donts
    Slideshow
    Woman holding feet up to camera
    Article
     
    Father kissing newborn baby
    Article
    baby gear slideshow
    Slideshow