The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is an area of the hospital designed to meet the needs of babies who require specialized medical care. A NICU is sometimes also known as called a special-care nursery or newborn intensive care.
If you’re looking for a NICU in Northern California, Dignity Health North State is equipped to care for your newborn. In the case of a high-risk birth at St. Elizabeth Community Hospital or Mercy Medical Center Mt. Shasta, you and your baby may be airlifted to our Level III NICU at Mercy Medical Center Redding.
Find a Doctor at Dignity Health North State to learn about our personal care, no matter the extent of your family’s needs.
Why Might a Baby Go to the NICU?
Babies who are born too soon or have serious medical problems may need extra care to survive and thrive. NICUs contain the equipment and machines necessary to support your baby’s breathing, circulation, and other life functions.
Premature birth is the most common reason babies need NICU care. NICUs also commonly treat the following conditions:
- Low red blood cell count (anemia)
- Breathing and lung problems
- Heart problems including congenital heart disease, birth defects affecting the heart, heart valve problems, and irregular heart rates
- Gastroschisis, where a baby is born with the intestines on the outside of the body
- Low blood sugar
- Severe jaundice
- Intrauterine growth restriction (a fetal complication when a baby doesn’t grow at a normal rate during pregnancy, often resulting in an early delivery)
- Bleeding in the brain (intraventricular hemorrhage)
- Serious infection
NICU Doctors & Other Caregivers at Dignity Health North State
It’s common to feel overwhelmed when your baby needs NICU care. But look closer, and you will see teams of NICU doctors and other professionals providing supportive, personalized care for each infant.
Health professionals you may meet in the NICU include:
- Registered nurses
- Neonatologists, physicians who specialize in the care of sick and premature babies
- Lactation consultants who help with breastfeeding and infant nutrition
- Medical specialists including cardiologists (heart doctors), pulmonologists (lung doctors), and neurologists (brain doctors)
- Physical therapists and occupational therapists who help babies with movement
- Respiratory therapists who help babies with breathing problems
- Speech-language pathologists who help babies with swallowing and feeding
- Nutritionists to make sure a baby's’ nutritional needs are met
- Social workers and chaplains who support family members and connect families to needed services
Families with babies in the NICU are encouraged to participate in care as much as possible. Your child’s doctor or nurse will explain your baby’s needs and what you can do to help.
While the experience of having a child in the NICU can be challenging, our doctors and other staff will be there every step of the way to answer your questions and provide emotional support. Trust Dignity Health North State for personalized care for your spiritual, mental, and physical needs.
Dignity Health North State offers advanced care for babies at our NICUs in Mt. Shasta, Red Bluff, and Redding, CA.