A newborn must make several bodily adaptations to live outside of his or her mother’s body. When a baby leaves the uterus, they are no longer reliant on the mother’s circulation and placenta for vital bodily processes.
A baby’s breathing, feeding, waste disposal, and immunological protection are all provided by the mother before birth. Many bodily systems alter drastically when a newborn enters the real world from how they operated during the fetal period:
● The lungs must breathe air
● Changes in the cardiac and pulmonary circulations
● The digestive system must start digesting meals and excreting waste
● The kidneys must begin to function in order to balance fluids and chemicals in the body and eliminate waste
Your baby’s bodily systems start to interact in a new way. A newborn may initially have difficulty adjusting to life outside of the womb. These adjustments can be made more difficult by prematurity, a traumatic delivery, or birth abnormalities. Fortunately, specific neonatal care is available for these newborns.
Neonatal intensive care unit:
Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admissions are common for babies who require rapid medical treatment. The NICU combines modern technology and skilled healthcare workers to offer specialised treatment for the tiniest children. Furthermore, NICUs may have intermediate or continuing care sections for babies who are not as sick but still require specialised nursing care.
Which newborns require particular attention?
The vast majority of babies admitted to the NICU are preterm (born before 37 weeks of gestation period), have a low birth weight (less than 5.5 pounds), or have a medical condition requiring specialised care. Many of these babies were born with low birth weights. Multiples are commonly admitted to the NICU, including twins, triplets, and other multiples. This is because they are born earlier and smaller than single-birth infants. The NICU also cares for babies who have respiratory problems, heart problems, infections, or birth defects. The following are some of the factors that may endanger a baby and raise the chance of admission to the NICU. Each newborn, however, must be assessed to decide whether or not they require the NICU. A list of high-risk variables is provided below.
Among the maternal variables are:
❖ Being under the age of 16 or above the age of 40
❖ Use of drugs or alcohol
❖ Blood pressure is too high (hypertension)
❖ Diseases spread through sexual contact
❖ Multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets, or more)
❖ Amniotic fluid that is either too little or too much
❖ Membrane rupture occurs prematurely (also called the amniotic sac or bag of waters)
Factors influencing delivery include:
❖ Changes in a baby’s organ systems as a result of a shortage of oxygen (fetal distress or birth asphyxia)
❖ Buttocks first (breech birth) or other unusual posture
❖ During pregnancy, the baby’s first faeces (meconium) is passed into the amniotic fluid.
❖ Wrapped around the baby’s neck is the umbilical cord (nuchal cord)
❖ Forceps or caesarean section
Factors affecting babies include:
● Baby born at fewer than 37 weeks gestation or more than 42 weeks’ gestation Less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces (2,500 grams) or more than 8 pounds, 13 ounces at birth (4,000 grams)
● Small in relation to gestational age
● In the delivery room, medicine or resuscitation may be administered.
● Birth flaws
● Respiratory discomfort, such as fast breathing, grunting, or cessation of breathing (apnea)
● Herpes, group B streptococcus, and chlamydia are examples of infections. ● Seizures
● Low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia)
● Extra oxygen or monitoring, IV (intravenous) treatment or medications may be required.
● The requirement for specialised treatment or procedures, such as a blood transfusion
The layout of a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)
When visiting the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for the first time, it might be daunting. The first thing you notice when entering the NICU is a row of antibacterial hand gel dispensers at the door.
Before entering the hall, you must first wipe your hands with sterile soap for a few minutes. Infants in NICUs can quickly become infected, and proper hand-washing reduces the likelihood of this happening.
The NICU may have quiet times when the lights are dimmed, allowing newborns to sleep more comfortably in the NICU. The majority of newborns will have either an active open cot or a hidden incubator..This aids in maintaining their body temperature.
Depending on the medical assistance that newborns require:
❖ Ventilators are used to help them breathe.
❖ Devices that deliver regulated amounts of fluids and medicines to newborns through tubes inserted into their veins.
❖ Monitors attached to the infants through cables to calculate heart rate, breathing rate, and the percentage of oxygen in their blood
❖ Cooling beds that are one-of-a-kind to help in the reduction of brain damage in infants who have had a difficult delivery.
❖ Other examples include machinery used for:
❖ X-rays and ultrasounds are being taken.
❖ Examining brain function
Who Will Look After Your Infant in the NICU?
● Neonatologists: The Neonatologist (also known as the attending physician) is in charge of the paediatric fellows and residents, nurse practitioners, and nurses who care for newborns in the NICU.
● Resident in paediatrics: This is a doctor who is undergoing further training in child care. They may perform or assist in procedures and aid in directing your child’s care.
● Nurse practitioner for newborns: This is a registered nurse who has received further training in the care of newborn infants. They can perform treatments and assist in the management of your child’s care.
● Respiratory therapist: This is a person who has received specialised training in providing breathing assistance. This involves the operation of breathing devices and the administration of oxygen.
● Occupational, physical, and speech therapists: These therapists ensure that the baby is developing normally. They also assist with care, including positioning and calming techniques.
● Dietitians: Dietitians verify that the babies are developing properly and receiving adequate nourishment. They keep track of your baby’s calorie, protein, vitamin, and mineral consumption.
● Lactation specialists: These are healthcare practitioners that have received additional training and certification in order to assist mothers and babies with breastfeeding.
● Pharmacists: Pharmacists assist NICU caregivers in selecting the appropriate medications. They double-check medication dosages and levels.
● Workers in social services: When a kid is unwell, social workers assist families in a variety of ways. They provide emotional assistance as well as financial support.
If you still have doubts or queries related to NICU, you can schedule a consultation with our experts.