This page is a printable version of: https://www.iow.nhs.uk/our-services/planned-care-services/maternity/faqs.htm
Date: 28 November 2023
There are some problems in pregnancy which increase the risk of a baby needing admission to a neonatal unit. These include:
Some problems in the mother increase the risk of the baby needing admission. These include:
A small number of newborn babies are unwell, or have a high chance of developing problems, which mean that they need to come to the neonatal unit. The reasons a baby may be admitted to the neonatal unit are:
This question is asked by all parents. It is difficult to predict how well a baby will do but most recover from their illnesses and go on to do well. No guarantees can ever be given but staff will be honest and open when answering questions regarding a baby’s outcome. We can give you figures for what has happened in the unit over the last few years but this is only a guide to how things may go for your baby.
Most babies who need admission to the neonatal unit do well. The length of time that a baby is in the unit will depend on the problems he has.
There are many reasons why term babies may need to be admitted to the neonatal unit. For most of these babies their stay is at most a few days, although how well they do will depend on the reason for admission.
As a general rule, a preterm baby will usually go home just before his expected date of delivery. There are however many exceptions and some babies stay in the unit for several months. A baby's organs are all formed very early on, but it is during the second half of the pregnancy that major organs such as the brain, lungs, heart and intestines mature and prepare for life in the 'outside world'. The earlier a baby is born the less mature and prepared his organs will be to cope with life outside his mother.
We will always try and make sure you know what is happening to your baby. Please do not be frightened to ask questions at any time. The nurse looking after your baby will often be able to update you on what is happening. There are always doctors available to come and talk with you. The consultant looking after your baby is also available. It is always possible to arrange a convenient time to meet up with the consultant. Just ask the nurse who is looking after your baby.
We encourage parents to be with your baby as much as possible. Remember that you are important to him. Your friends and family are probably keen to meet your new baby; and offer what help they can whilst he is in hospital. However we have a duty to protect both you and your baby in any way we can. That means limiting the amount of visitors and therefore the potential for exposure to infection such as coughs or colds. It also means keeping the nurseries free from visitors around the change of nursing shifts so that information relating to your baby is kept as private as possible.
We operate an open visiting policy for parents, grandparents and brothers and sisters. No other children are allowed this is because children attend nurseries and schools and are more exposed to childhood illnesses.
Quiet time is 07.30 – 08.30 and 20.15 -21.15 hours, a dedicated time for the baby to rest.
There should be no more than two at a cot at one time, and one of them should be a parent.
N.B. In exceptional circumstances special visiting arrangements can be pre-arranged with Sister or the unit manager.
Why is my baby in an incubator
A basic need for any baby is to keep warm. Placing a premature or sick baby inside an incubator will help do this. Inside the incubator the circulating air is warm and humidified, thus preventing the baby from losing too much moisture by evaporation from their fine skin.
Nursing a baby in an incubator also allows the baby to use it’s valuable energy stores on breathing, feeding and growing. If you baby was born premature he/she will spend some weeks in an incubator. When the baby is around 34 weeks gestation and weighing 1.60kgs, he/she will be able to be nursed in an open cot.
Sometimes babies need help with breathing. There are many reasons for this. It may be because they are immature, have an infection, have under-developed lungs or have inhaled something - for example meconium.
There are many different ways in which we can help your baby to breathe, such as
A ventilator – this helps a baby breathe. It works in 3 ways:
This is when air flows through two fine tubes placed in the baby’s nostrils. This slightly raises the pressure and helps to keep the baby’s lungs inflated.
This is similar to nasal CPAP but generally better tolerated. It warms and humidifies the air and oxygen and is delivered to the baby via soft nasal prongs.
There are many reasons why there might be a delay in starting a baby on milk feeds or for stopping milk feeds after they have been started. When babies are extremely ill, for example with breathing problems, their condition can be worsened by filling their stomachs with milk. Some babies may develop inflammation of the bowel and in this case feeds will be stopped to allow the bowel heal and recover. If a baby is not able to have milk then he will be fed by an intravenous drip. When well enough, milk will be introduced slowly .
Weighing a baby is an important part of his/her care and management because treatments, such as drugs, are calculated on the weight. All babies are weighed on admission to the unit, then again on Day 4. After this they are weighed every other day. It is not unusual for a baby to lose weight by Day 4.
Minimising noise and light:
Side effects are extremely rare and include skin rash, diarrhoea and redness around the cannula where it has been injected.
It is commonly used in conjunction with Ranitidine, which: