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Expert Care for Newborns


The NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) is an area of the hospital designed to meet the needs of babies who require specialized medical care. A NICU is sometimes called newborn intensive care or the special care nursery.

Your child needing care in the NICU can be nerve-racking. You can rely on the specialists at Dignity Health to provide expert treatment and support at our NICUs in the Bay Area. We have a Level II NICU at Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City and a Level III NICU at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz. Both locations partner with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford to guarantee that your newborn receives exceptional care around the clock. Find a Doctor today to learn more about NICUs at Dignity Health.

Why We Provide NICU Care

Neonatal intensive care units are staffed by knowledgeable, compassionate health care providers who are able to give neonatal patients the extra care they need to survive and thrive. These facilities contain the equipment and machines necessary to support a baby's’ circulation, breathing, and other life functions.

Premature birth is the most common reason for NICU care. Other conditions commonly treated in the NICU include: 

  • Heart problems, including congenital heart disease, birth defects affecting the heart, heart valve problems, and irregular heart rates
  • Anemia (low red blood cell count)
  • Seizures
  • Breathing and lung problems, including bronchopulmonary dysplasia, pneumonia, and persistent pulmonary hypertension
  • Severe jaundice
  • Gastroschisis, a birth defect in which the intestines are outside of the body
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Intrauterine growth restriction, when the baby does not grow at a normal rate during pregnancy
  • Bleeding in the brain (intraventricular hemorrhage)
  • Serious infection

What to Expect at Dignity Health NICUs

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed and scared when your baby needs NICU care. Dignity Health is dedicated to providing a caring, supportive atmosphere for you and your family. Our team of professionals provide comprehensive, personalized care for each infant. Members of our childbirth team that you may meet in the NICU include: 

  • Neonatologists, doctors who specialize in the care of sick and premature babies
  • Medical specialists, including pulmonologists (lung doctors), cardiologists (heart doctors), and neurologists (brain doctors)
  • Registered nurses
  • Lactation consultants who assist with infant nutrition and breastfeeding
  • Pharmacists
  • Physical therapists and occupational therapists who help babies with movement
  • Speech-language pathologists who help babies with swallowing and feeding
  • Respiratory therapists who help babies with breathing problems
  • Nutritionists who make sure a baby’s nutritional needs are met
  • Social workers and chaplains who support family members and connect families to needed services

Every step of the way, our staff members are available to provide emotional support and answer your questions. Parents and family members are encouraged to participate in care as much as possible. Our team will explain your baby’s needs and what you can do to help. 

Dignity Health provides complete care for newborn patients in the neonatal intensive care unit in Santa Cruz and Redwood City.