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Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)


When babies are born prematurely or seriously ill, it can be a very scary time. We understand. You can take comfort in knowing that St. Joseph’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is equipped and ready to help get your baby healthy, and home.

Advanced Care for Infants

St. Joseph’s Medical Center has a 30-bed Community Level III NICU. This means we can care for the tiniest and sickest of infants. For newborns who need intensive medical attention, St. Joseph's offers a caring environment combined with advanced technology and highly skilled neonatologists (doctors specializing in premature and high-risk babies), nurses, and therapists to provide specialized care. We care for over 500 babies a year in our NICU. 

Our team of health care professionals includes:

  • Board-certified Neonatologist
  • State Certified Respiratory Care Practitioners
  • Specially trained and certified NICU nurses
  • A transport team, with all necessary emergency room equipment to bring infants to the NICU from other hospitals.

As a Level III NICU, we are equipped to provide specialized care including invasive monitoring, conventional ventilation, surgery, inhaled nitric oxide, and high frequency oscillator ventilation.

Helping Your Baby

Our neonatal intensive care team includes you. As part of our philosophy of family centered care, we encourage you to touch, hold, bathe, change and feed your baby as often as is appropriate for their condition. This will help make your baby’s transition to health and home easier.

However, due to your baby’s fragile condition, you may not always be able to hold or touch them. There are other things you can do such as providing a clean cloth with your scent, a gentle non-moving hand, or assisting with a diaper change or weight check.

Because the well-being of your baby is our primary concern, every time you or a visitor enters the NICU, you must sanitize your hands. Sanitizing is also necessary after touching your cell phone, camera and changing a diaper. Infection prevention and control are very important in the NICU, and we ask that you use the sanitizing gel before touching your baby each time.

Your Baby’s Care

Your baby may be connected to a variety of equipment:

  • Monitors are used to track your baby’s heart and respiratory rates, oxygen saturation level and blood pressure. An alarm will sound if anything is out of normal range.
  • A medication pump containing fluids and prescribed medications will be delivered through an IV in your baby’s arm.
  • Most babies in the neonatal intensive care unit will need help to breathe properly. There are several types of oxygen delivery systems and your baby may be on a number of them based on his or her condition at different times during their stay.

We also offer a developmental care program, as well as the St. Joseph’s Donor Milk Program where we work with Prolacta Bioscience. Prolacta produces specialty nutritional formulas made exclusively from human milk for critically ill premature infants.

We know that this is a frightening time, and that it can become overwhelming. We encourage you to ask questions about anything you don’t understand. Our doctors and nurses will explain what’s happening with your baby.

Find a Doctor

To find out more about our NICU call 209.943.2000. You can also use our online Find a Doctor feature, or call 800.677.4491 to get connected to a doctor that's right for you.