Reasons Why Some Babies Are Sent to the NICU
About 10 to 15% of babies who are born each year in the United States have to spend time in the NICU. That’s a scary number when you think about the fact that most mothers never envision their babies to end up in the NICU. Here are a few of the most common reasons why babies are sent to the NICU.
Premature birth is probably the most common reason that babies end up in the NICU. After all, babies who are born early aren’t fully developed and tend to need a little more help in the beginning. While there is no surefire way to prevent a premature delivery, the pregnant woman can do her best by taking care of herself, eating a good diet, and abstaining from alcohol, drugs, and nicotine throughout her entire pregnancy.
Babies with heart problems usually get sent to the NICU until they are stable enough to be with you. Depending on what is wrong, your baby may need surgery, which can be especially scary for a first-time parent. The good news is that well-equipped NICU can provide the specialized care your infant needs.
Newborns are carefully evaluated at birth. While breathing problems aren’t always apparent right away, not breathing properly is a serious concern for any infant. If you ever notice any abnormal breathing in your infant, you should let your doctor know right away.
Injuries that are apparent at birth often have to be treated in the NICU. Some deformities can be diagnosed during the pregnancy, but this isn’t always possible. Your doctors and nurses will carefully evaluate your baby and determine what type of treatment if any is needed.
How You Can Be Involved
Even though your baby has to spend time in the NICU, you can still be involved with their care. In fact, the more time you can spend with them the better. If your baby is stable enough, you should try to spend some skin-to-skin time with them. This so-called kangaroo care has been proven to help babies tremendously.