A neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) can appear a daunting place at first, but don't worry - everything you see is designed to provide the best possible care for each individual baby. NICU equipment creates the optimum environment for babies to rest and heal, while offering parents the chance to remain close to their new arrival. Here's our guide to NICU incubators.
Equipment in modern neonatal intensive care units has been designed to help comfort each and every baby that passes through its doors. NICUs are constantly evolving, in a bid to provide the best environment to help premature babies heal and develop outside the womb. Treatment for jaundice, for example, used to consist of exposure to high levels of light beamed into an incubator. Nowadays, modern equipment such as the Bilirubin blanket allows you to wrap, feed, and hold your baby while they receive phototherapy treatment.
From the moment a premature baby arrives in the NICU, they are monitored for their growth and development. NIRs monitors offer a non-invasive means of measuring the amount of oxygen in tissues and vital organs, while multi-parameter monitors observe the baby's heart rate, blood pressure and respiration.
Neonatal nurseries strive to provide a developmentally friendly environment for your growing preemie. Adjusting the light and noise in the NICU promotes a nurturing environment to support growth. Medical equipment such as incubators have features like built in scales (so your baby doesn't need to be disturbed when being weighed), rotating mattresses (to minimize unnecessary movement), and pressure diffusing mattresses (to nurture and aid the baby's development).
Neonatal intensive care units contain equipment to help strengthen premature babies. Equipment such as IV pumps, breast pumps, exam lights and phototherapy lights have all been developed with premature baby care in mind. Advances in these vital pieces of equipment help make the NICU as quiet as possible, minimizing external stress factors for parent and baby.
Often neonatal babies require more specialized tests or procedures in different hospital departments. Hospital departments will try to minimize disruption caused during transportation, and may use specially designed mobile incubators with batteries to continue all necessary care during transport. Units that serve as incubators, travel beds, and radiant warmers all help keep the baby as stable as possible during these checks, while minimizing distress.
Additional information on the various equipment you may find in your hospital can be found here.