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Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

Home Services Pediatrics Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

Skilled, compassionate medical teams care for your premature or newborn with critical illness

Your newest family member may need urgent and advanced medical care at birth or soon after. You will find a range of critical care services for newborns and infants in a Novant Health neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). These areas of our medical centers have medical experts and advanced technology to help children who are born prematurely, have dangerously low birth weights or need treatment because of serious illness. Our providers put these resources to work to give your baby a chance to go home healthy.

 What is a NICU?

A neonatal intensive care unit has special medical teams and resources in place to treat severely or critically ill newborns and infants. The services available in our NICUs can help save lives, prevent birth defects or lessen symptoms. Our NICUs give your child access to:

  • Board-certified neonatologists, nurse practitioners and registered nurses
  • Sophisticated monitors to measure heart rate, blood pressure and other internal functions
  • Respiratory labs that assess breathing and oxygen intake
  • Support services
  • Resources to help with your child’s transition home
 Why do babies need a NICU?

About 1 in 12 babies in the United States has a dangerously low weight at birth, according to the March of Dimes. Children who weigh 5 pounds or less when they arrive — and those born well before their due dates — often have serious health problems. Difficulty breathing, maintaining body temperature and fighting infection are conditions common for the smallest babies.

NICUs bring together providers and medical resources who want to help these children grow and become stronger. Every case is different, but NICUs generally admit a child for:

  • Troubled breathing or infection after delivery
  • Prematurely birth (less than 37 weeks)
  • Health problems that arise within their first few days, including jaundice (liver condition) and problems with intestines, lungs or heart

Our highest level of acute care for newborns

Level IV NICUs have earned the highest certification available in North Carolina for critical-care services. Our level IV locations include:

  • Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center, Charlotte, North Carolina

    Located in the Novant Health Women's Center, the NICU has 38 beds for continuous care delivered by board-certified neonatologists, pediatricians, registered nurses and nurse practitioners.

  • Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

    With 56 beds, Forsyth Medical Center’s NICU has ample capacity for delivering comprehensive critical care services. The standard of care focuses on close observation throughout the day and precise medical treatment.

Special care nurseries

Novant Health community hospitals give you access to a level III special care nursery. As in our level IV NICUs, neonatologists and neonatal nurse practitioners in the nurseries give your family important options for specialized care close to where you live.

Critical care transport

If your baby needs to be moved to a NICU for acute medical services, our critical care transportation team can get you there. Our neonatal and pediatric transport vehicle makes many of our critical care services available en route.

NICU and you

You play an important role in the recovery of your newborn. You’re encouraged to visit often and build a bond with your child. In some cases, you may be able to hold your baby. If not, you may still be able to hold your baby’s hand or stroke his or her head. Guests age 13 and older are welcome to visit. If you have questions about caring for your child once home from the NICU, call on us at any time. We’re here to help days, nights and weekends.

Family support

Helping you and your family find encouragement and support during your child’s recovery is important to us. Ask us about programs available from Family Support Network of North Carolina. Services include one-on-one peer support for parents who have a child in a NICU. Ask us about lodging at Ronald McDonald House if you have a baby at our Winston-Salem or Charlotte NICU and live in another city or town.

Transitioning home

To help you and your family with caring for your little one at home, our discharge staff can offer tips and resources for an easier transition. A medical social worker can help you with tasks ranging from filing insurance forms to setting up skilled nursing care and support programs.

NICU locations near you

Each of our NICUs provides a distinct and valuable level of care. The location for treatment will depend on services your child needs. The sickest children typically need the highest level of care. Novant Health has established hospitals with NICUs and other special programs to insure your baby gets the right services.