The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Womens Center is a 14 bed, state-of-the- art level 3 unit which is well equipped to admit and manage all high risk newborns.
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The Neonatal department in our hospital takes care of newborn babies. The department consists of two Neonatologists (newborn doctors) and three Paediatricians.
Delivery and assessment:
Every delivery is attended by a resuscitation team which consists of a Neonatologist/Paediatrician and atleast two nurses trained in newborn care. Before preparing to receive a baby, the team assesses whether the pregnancy is high-risk or low-risk and arrangements are made depending on that. If the baby is normal after birth, we do not hurry to cut the umbilical cord. We let the baby stay on the mother’s chest or abdomen for one to three minutes before cutting the cord. This ensures that the baby gets additional blood from the placenta during that time and this is of huge benefit to the baby. This additional blood not only confers short term benefit but also reduces the incidence of anaemia in infancy. During this time, the baby doctor and nurse are at the baby’s side and will be doing an ongoing assessment of the baby. Once the cord is cut, the baby is taken to the resuscitation area for a few minutes to do a complete examination and to check the birth weight. All normal babies are then taken back to their mother for skin-to-skin care and early breastfeeding.
We are a breast-feeding friendly hospital and do all that is possible to ensure that new moms and babies are able to have a positive experience with regards to feeding. There are trained nurses who help mothers with the feeding positions and latching. There is a trained lactation nurse who does lactation rounds on every mom daily. The Paediatricians/ Neonatologists also supervise and manage any feeding problems. We are happy to say that most twin babies born in our hospital go home on exclusive breast feeds and also stay on breast feeds for more than a year. Regular antenatal and postnatal classes are also being conducted on normal newborn care and breastfeeding.
Normal Newborn Care:
There are certain routine tests that are performed on all babies delivered at our hospital.
- Hearing screen: The hearing screen tests if the baby can hear sounds normally in both ears. The incidence of congenital hearing loss (i.e., hearing loss present at birth) is estimated to be one out of every 1,000 live births. Universal newborn hearing screening is now recommended by almost all countries in the world. This is a very simple, non-invasive test which takes about 5-10 minutes to perform. The testing is done by a certified Audiologist on the second or third day after baby is born.
- Testing for newborn jaundice: All newborns develop some jaundice on day 2-3 after birth which increases till day 5-6 and then starts coming down. This jaundice unlike jaundice in adults is not a disease. It is usually self-limited and does not require treatment. However if the level of jaundice is above a certain cut-off limit, it might need treatment with phototherapy (blue lights kept above the baby’s bed). To ensure we do not miss such high levels, we routinely test all babies on the second or third day.
- Newborn Screening Test: This screens your baby for 5 common conditions that can be picked up at birth- Congenital Hypothyroidism, Galactosemia, Cystic Fibrosis, G6PD deficiency and Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia. If found to be positive, these may need immediate treatment. The results of this test takes 10-15 days and will be given to you at your follow-up visit.
- Echocardiography screening: This test will be done before discharge to rule out any cardiac conditions in your baby.
- Vaccinations: All babies will be vaccinated with BCG, Hepatitis B and OPV (Polio vaccine) before discharge.
All the above tests ensure that we send home a healthy and happy baby.
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Womens Center is a 14 bed, state-of-the-art level 3 unit which is well equipped to admit and manage all high risk newborns. The unit has facilities to
- Manage extreme preterm infants born as early as 24-26 weeks
- Perform neonatal surgeries and provide post-operative care
- Multidisciplinary management of babies with congenital anomalies
- Professional training and equipment to perform in house cranial ultrasounds and Echocardiography
- Ventilate and manage babies with severe PPHN
- Transport sick newborns from peripheral hospitals in a specially equipped transport incubator
- Prepare TPN (total parenteral nutrition) within the unit under a laminar flow
- Handle any neonatal emergency 24/7
- High risk Perinatal follow up of preterm infants
- Store and handle expressed breast milk hygienically
All neonatal services are provided at an affordable cost.
The NICU team consists of Neonatologists trained from some of the best centres in India and Canada. They are well experienced in treating sick newborns who require level 3 care and have successfully managed preterms as young as 23 weeks and weighing 500 g. The NICU and Pediatric registrars who provide round the clock cover have a minimum of one year specialized training in Neonatology. Our team of nurses are very efficient and well trained in handling newborns. We regularly upgrade our standards and knowledge with frequent grand rounds, bedside teaching, monthly perinatology meetings and infection control committee meetings.
We have had several success stories in the NICU in the past 5 years. All NICU graduates being followed up by us are doing extremely well. We are a very family friendly unit and believe that parents are as much part of the treating team as doctors and nurses. We involve them in all our daily rounds and decisions. Parents of babies in our unit usually tend to stay by the baby’s bedside throughout the day and spend most of their time doing skin-to-skin care. We are very proud of the fact that our preterm breastfeeding rates are one of the best in the whole country.
To avail of our transport services/ any other neonatal services please contact our neonatal team, 0422-4201000
Dr.Karthik Balasubramanian, MD (Paed) DM (Neonatology)
Dr. Saranya Manickaraj, MD (Pead) Fellowship in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine (Canada)