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Newborn and neonatal care

What is neonatal care?

Neonatal care is a type of care that is given to infants who require medical care due to illness at birth or prematurity. The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) has specialist paediatricians, surgeons, nurses and other professionals and equipment that help provide comprehensive care for sick and premature babies.

Premature birth or premature babies are babies that are born before week 37 of pregnancy. This is also called preterm. There are different names that describe premature birth, such as:

  • Gold StarTerm – This is a baby that spent 37 weeks inside the womb(gestation).
  • Gold StarPreterm – This is a term that refers to a baby that is born before 37 weeks of gestation.
  • Gold StarModerate to late preterm – This refers to a baby born between weeks 32 and 37.
  • Gold StarVery preterm – This refers to a baby that is born between weeks 28 and 32.
  • Gold StarExtremely preterm – This refers to a baby born before or at week 28.

When is neonatal intensive care indicated?

Infants are admitted into the neonatal intensive care unit for many different reasons. The most common reasons for babies to be admitted include:

  • Gold StarThey are born prematurely.
  • Gold StarThey have a low birth weight.
  • Gold StarThey have a certain medical condition that requires treatment in the hospital.

What do newborn and neonatal care entail?

After birth, the paediatrician will conduct a complete physical exam which includes performing a range of tests, including checking vitals such as temperature, heart rate, breathing rate, skin colour, Apgar scoring, and measuring birth weight as well other lengths and diameters. The paediatrician will continue conducting these tests and routine newborn checks for the remainder of your stay in the hospital to monitor and identify any problems that may occur.

After you and the little one have been discharged, the paediatrician will schedule appointments to ensure that the little one is healthy, adjusting to life outside the womb and making sure he/she gets her immunisations.

FAQ

How will my bay be assessed after birth?

Dr Nsele will do a comprehensive examination and respond to any concerning signs and symptoms by offering appropriate treatment and support.

When can I breastfeed my preterm baby?

You may start breastfeeding your baby when he/she is mature enough; you will be alerted by the neonatal care staff.

How long will my baby be in the NICU?

The duration of your baby being NICU depends on the baby’s condition and the severity of the condition.

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When should my child see a Paediatrician

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Visits with your paediatrician should begin as soon as your child is born. This allows you to become familiar with your child’s doctor, and also allows your child’s health to be monitored from an early age.

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