A neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is a hospital department designed for babies who need specialized medical care. It’s also called a newborn intensive care unit or special care nursery.
The pregnancy specialists at Dignity Health Southern California hospitals can partner with you during labor and delivery to ensure an optimal outcome for your baby. Our hospitals offer a range of pregnancy services, including care at a NICU in Southern California.
Use our online Find a Doctor tool to schedule a consultation at one of the following state-of-the-art locations:
When is a NICU Needed?
Babies who are born too soon or have serious medical problems may need extra neonatal care. NICUs have equipment and machines that support breathing, circulation, and other life functions. At Dignity Health Southern California hospitals, our NICUs are staffed by knowledgeable and compassionate health care specialists.
Premature birth is the most common reason a baby may be admitted to the NICU. Other conditions treated in the NICU include:
- Bleeding in the brain (intraventricular hemorrhage)
- Serious infection
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
- Anemia (low red blood cell count)
- Severe jaundice
- Breathing and lung problems, including bronchopulmonary dysplasia, pneumonia, and persistent pulmonary hypertension
- Heart problems, including congenital heart disease, birth defects affecting the heart, and heart valve problems
- Intrauterine growth restriction, which is when the baby does not grow at a normal rate during pregnancy
- Gastroschisis, a birth defect in which the intestines are on the outside of the body
NICU Providers at Dignity Health Southern California Hospitals
Our NICUs are managed by teams of specialists who offer personalized care to each baby. This includes:
- Neonatologists, doctors who specialize in the care of sick and premature babies
- Medical specialists, including cardiologists (heart doctors), pulmonologists (lung doctors), and neurologists (brain doctors)
- Registered nurses
- Lactation consultants who assist with breastfeeding
- Nutritionists who make sure a newborn’s nutritional needs are met
- Speech-language pathologists who help babies with swallowing and feeding
- Social workers and chaplains
- Physical and occupational therapists who help babies with movement
- Respiratory therapists who help babies with breathing problems
We encourage you to participate in your newborn’s NICU experience as much as possible. Your health care provider will explain the needs of your baby and let you know how to get involved.
Dignity Health offers comprehensive pregnancy services at neonatal intensive care units in Southern California.