Rady Children's Level III NICU for Specialized Newborn Care
Sometimes newborns need extra attention. If your baby needs special care, the Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Southwest Healthcare Rancho Springs Hospital can help put your mind at ease. Our Level III NICU treats newborns with extreme prematurity or critical illness and provides surgical intervention as needed.
Located steps from the labor and delivery suites, the 13-bed NICU is staffed by a specialized, multidisciplinary team that attends to each baby daily.
There are no visiting hour restrictions for parents or designated partners in care, but please be aware of your baby’s needs and nursing schedules so you can coordinate the best times to be with your baby. We will make every effort to help you be with your baby while he or she is in the NICU. There is also a dedicated NICU waiting area for family and guests.
What to Expect in the NICU
After your baby is born, medical staff will assess whether he or she needs special care in the NICU. Babies are admitted to the NICU for a variety of reasons, including premature birth, respiratory difficulties, infection, low blood sugar, jaundice and birth defects.
Once brought to the NICU, your baby will be placed on a warming bed. Cardio-respiratory monitoring gives a continuous reading of your baby’s heart and breathing rates and tells us about your baby’s blood pressure and blood oxygen levels.
Most NICU babies who need extra oxygen are given a nasal cannula, which allows the amount of oxygen to be adjusted. Additional breathing support from a nasal CPAP machine can also help keep airways and lung sacs open. Ventilators (breathing machines) can help increase oxygen pressure for babies struggling to breathe on their own.
Tests conducted in the NICU include:
- Complete blood count (measures white and red blood cells)
- Blood sugar or blood glucose
- Blood gas tests (determines the level of help needed for breathing issues)
- APGAR scoring, which is used to assess a baby’s condition and response to resuscitation at one and five minutes after birth. Premature babies often score low due to 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 every baby is unique, the NICU team prepares an individualized care plan for every baby on the unit. 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 is often helpful to appoint a family member or close friend to update family and friends on your baby’s condition. We want all your energy focused on recovery from delivery, time spent with your baby and staying close with your baby’s NICU team.