Understanding Birth of a Child
The birth of a baby is a wonderful yet very complex process. Many physical and emotional changes occur for mother and baby.
A baby must make many physical adjustments to life outside the mother’s body. Leaving the uterus means that a baby can no longer depend on the mother’s circulation and placenta for important physiologic functions.
Before birth, breathing, eating, elimination of waste, and immunologic protection all came from the mother. When a baby enters the world, many body systems change dramatically from the way they functioned during fetal life:
- The lungs must breathe air.
- The cardiac and pulmonary circulation changes.
- The digestive system must begin to process food and excrete waste.
- The kidneys must begin working to balance fluids and chemicals in the body and excrete waste.
- The liver and immunologic systems must begin functioning independently.
Your baby’s body systems must work together in a new way. Sometimes, a baby has difficulty making the transition to the world. Being born prematurely, having a difficult delivery, or birth defects can make these changes more challenging. Fortunately for these babies, special newborn care is available.
All Babies born at Hamida Ashiq Trust Hospital go through the 6 hours Observation phase soon after the birth before the infant can be handed over to Mother/Father. The idea behind this observation is to detect any abnormality in the infant timely. The Vitals are noted for all babies born or admitted in the hospital. The APGAR score is also marked.
What is the neonatal intensive care unit?
Newborn babies who need intensive medical attention are often admitted into a special area of the hospital called the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The NICU combines advanced technology and trained health care professionals to provide specialized care for the tiniest patients. NICUs also cater to babies who are not as sick but do need specialized nursing care. Neighboring Hospitals vicinity clinics that do not have the personnel or a NICU and babies transfer such cases to our NICU at Hamida Ashiq Trust Hospital.
Some newborn babies will require care in a NICU, and giving birth to a sick or premature baby can be quite unexpected for any parent. Unfamiliar sights, sounds, and equipment in the NICU can be overwhelming. This information is provided to help you understand some of the problems of sick and premature babies. Our Neo natal team shall inform you about any procedures that may be needed for the care of your baby.
Equipment in NICU
The Neo Natal Intensive Care unit is well equipped with :
- Central Oxygen and Airflow Lines
- Infant and Pediatric Ventilators
- Infant and Pediatric/ Neo-natal Multi Parameter Monitors
- Baby Warmers
- Baby Incubators
- Baby Cots
- Crash Cots
- Infant Laryngoscopes
- Infant Auto Ophthalmoscopes.
- Infant Ambu bags, Emergency Trays, Stethoscopes etc.
Which babies need special care?
Most babies admitted to the NICU are premature (born before 37 weeks of pregnancy), have low birth weight (less than 5.5 pounds), or have a medical condition that requires special care. In 70% of babies born in Pakistan are born preterm, and many of these babies also have low birth weights. Twins, triplets, and other multiples often are admitted to the NICU, as they tend to be born earlier and smaller than single birth babies. Babies with medical conditions such as heart problems, infections, or birth defects are also cared for in the NICU.
The following are some factors that can place a baby at high risk and increase the chances of being admitted to the NICU. However, each baby must be evaluated individually to determine the need for admission. High-risk factors include the following:
- Age younger than 16 or older than 40 years
- Drug or alcohol exposure
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets, or more)
- Too little or too much amniotic fluid
- Premature rupture of membranes (also called the amniotic sac or bag of waters)
- Fetal distress/birth asphyxia (changes in organ systems due to lack of oxygen)
- Breech delivery presentation (buttocks delivered first) or other abnormal presentation
- Meconium (the baby’s first stool passed during pregnancy into the amniotic fluid)
- Nuchal cord (cord around the baby’s neck)
- Forceps or cesarean delivery
- Birth at gestational age less than 37 weeks or more than 42 weeks
- Birth weight less than 2,500 grams (5 pounds, 8 ounces) or over 4,000 grams (8 pounds, 13 ounces)
- Small for gestational age
- Medication or resuscitation in the delivery room
- Birth defects
- Respiratory distress including rapid breathing, grunting, or apnea (stopping breathing)
- Infection such as herpes, group B streptococcus, chlamydia
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Need for extra oxygen or monitoring, intravenous (IV) therapy, or medications
- Need for special treatment or procedures such as a blood transfusion
Who will care for your baby in the NICU?
The following are some of the specially trained health care professionals who will be involved in the care of your baby:
- Neonatologist/Child Specialist. A pediatrician with additional training in the care of sick and premature babies. The neonatologist /Child Specialist supervise pediatric PG Trainees and Medical officers, nurse practitioners, and nurses who care for babies in the NICU.
- Respiratory therapists
- Patient welfare Officers
The members of the NICU team work together with parents to develop a plan of care for high-risk newborns. The Patient Welfare Officer or your treating consultant will keep you informed of the patient’s prognosis and status on regular intervals.