Level II NICU for Specialized Newborn Care
Sometimes newborns need extra attention. If your baby needs special care, the Rady Children's at Rancho Springs Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) can help put your mind at ease.
A Level II NICU is a special care nursery that provides basic care and is also equipped to treat infants who were born prematurely or who have unusual medical conditions that are expected to resolve quickly. Located just steps from the labor and delivery suites, Rancho Spring's 13-bed NICU is staffed by a specialized team of nurses, neonatologists, therapists, nutritionists, lab technicians, pharmacists, chaplains and social workers who attend to each baby. Learn more about the NICU staff >
For parents, we make every effort to help you be with your baby while he or she is in the NICU. We will make sleeping arrangements for you and and there is also a dedicated waiting area for the NICU. There are no visiting hour restrictions for parents, but please be aware of your baby’s needs and nursing schedules so you can coordinate the best times to be with your baby.
What To Expect In the NICU
After your baby is born, initial resuscitation is complete and your baby is stable, medical staff can assess whether your baby needs special care in the NICU. Babies are admitted to NICU for a variety of reasons, including premature birth, respiratory difficulties, infection, low blood sugar, jaundice or birth defects.
Once your baby is brought to the NICU, he or she will be placed placed in a warming bed. While in the warmer, a cardio-respiratory monitor gives a continuous reading of your baby’s heart and breathing rates. It will also tell us about your baby’s blood pressure and blood oxygen levels. Most NICU babies who need extra oxygen are placed in round, plastic oxygen hoods where the amount of oxygen can be adjusted. Additional breathing support is helped by a Nasal CPAP which also helps keep airways and lung sacs open. Ventilators (breathing machines) can also provide increased oxygen pressure for babies having a difficult time breathing on their own.
Tests conducted in the NICU include:
- Complete blood count (CBC) measures white and red blood cells
- Blood sugar or blood glucose
- Blood gas tests help us determine the level of help your baby needs with breathing
- X-rays help us evaluate lungs, heart, bowel gas and bones
- APGAR scoring is used to assess a NICU baby’s condition and response to resuscitation at one and five minutes after birth. Premature babies often score low because they have low muscle tone and a weak cry. APGAR scores are given in different categories such as general condition, heart rate, breathing, muscle tone and reflexes
Individualized Treatment and Care
Because each baby is unique, the NICU team will prepare an individualized plan of recommended care. The length of your baby's stay will depend on the severity of his or her condition, weight, gestational age and the readiness of you and your family to provide care at home.
The head NICU nurse will keep you informed of your baby's developments, but please feel free to ask any member of the NICU team about your baby's condition and treatment plan. It’s often helpful to appoint a family member or close friend to be the one person who updates other family members and friends about your baby’s condition. We want all your energies focused on your recovery from delivery, time spent with your baby, and staying close with your baby’s NICU healthcare team.