We know having your newborn in the NICU can be overwhelming at times. You may hear our NICU team refer to the following terms when discussing your infant’s care and when providing updates. Call us or talk to your baby’s nurse or doctor if you have questions at any time.
- Anemia: when the amount of red blood cells in your infants’ circulation is too low
- Apnea: When your infant pauses his/her breathing for more than 20 seconds.
- Bradycardia: When your infants’ heart rate slows down below a set limit. The limit will depend on your infants’ age.
Apnea and bradycardia often occur together and may be referred to as spells or events.
- Bilirubin: a substance in the body that is the result of the breakdown of red blood cells
- Blood culture: a small blood sample is tested for bacteria to see if there is an infection in the bloodstream
- Blood gas: A blood test that is used to assess how well your infant is ventilating.
- Blood transfusion: donated and screened blood is given to your infant to increase their number of red blood cells
- Car bed: if it is determined your infant is not safe to go home in a car seat, a car bed which is provided by the NICU may be an option
- Car seat test: a test to determine if your infant is safe to go home in a car seat
- Critical Congenital Heart Disease Screening (CCHD): a simple bedside screen to help rule out heart defects
- Emesis: vomiting or spitting up
- Endotracheal tube (ET tube)/Breathing tube: A tube that is placed into your infants’ trachea or windpipe to provide breathing support.
- Hearing screen: simple bedside screen to assess hearing loss performed prior to discharge
- Hypoglycemia: a blood sugar that is too low
- Hypotension: a blood pressure that is too low
- Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR): an infant who is not growing as well as they should during pregnancy which can happen for many different reasons
- Jaundice: is when the skin is a yellow color due to excess bilirubin. This may require treatment with phototherapy.
- Kangaroo care: is when a parent holds their child skin to skin
- Murmur: a heart sound caused by turbulent blood flow which can be significant or insignificant
- Newborn screen: an important screening tool to identify disorders that your infant may be born with
- Oxygen: Ranges in percent from 21% to 100%.
- Phototherapy: a specialized light that is used to treat jaundice
- Pulse oximetry: A monitor that is used to determine the oxygen concentration in your infants blood.
- Room air: is 21% oxygen and is the percentage we all normally breathe
- Small for gestational age (SGA): An infant who is born at less than the 10th percentile for their gestational age delivery.
- Surfactant: A protein produced in the lungs that decreases surface tension in the lungs. Artificial surfactant may be administered via a breathing tube after
- Tachypnea: A respiratory rate that is too fast, typically greater than 60 breaths per minute.