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Pregnancy and baby

  • Your pregnancy journey
  • Your care team
  • Childbirth education
Young baby in an incubator

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

The NICU provides specialized care for babies who are born premature or have health issues after birth.

Helping our tiniest patients thrive

Babies who are born early or with health issues need the very best care. We have the training, technology, and experience to provide the most advanced care possible to help newborns with challenges in their first days.

Why might your baby need the NICU?

Babies are admitted to the NICU for a variety of reasons. Some require help with less severe conditions such as jaundice or feeding issues.

Others may need more support physically or developmentally if they have any of the following conditions:

  • Anemia, or not getting enough oxygen
  • Breathing problems
  • Growth problems during pregnancy (too small or too large)
  • Other complications that developed during pregnancy, such as problems with the baby's heart, kidneys or bones
  • Prematurity, or babies born before 35 weeks gestation

If your baby needs the NICU, your Intermountain Health provider will make a referral as part of your birth experience.

Newborn baby in a hospital setting being examined by a doctor

Direct access to neonatal experts — no matter where you live

Providers at all locations can consult 24/7 with our highly-trained NICU specialists and, if needed, transfer your baby to the NICU location that meets their needs.

About newborn telehealth

Levels of NICU

When choosing where to give birth, the critical care available to your newborn is important.

NICUs are rated from Level I to Level IV based on various factors, such as the age of the babies they can care for. Intermountain Health is home to the leading Level IV NICU in the Mountain West.

All of our hospitals and birth centers have 24/7 access to highly-trained neonatal specialists and the advanced technology needed to provide the very best care for your little one.

If your baby needs a higher level of care, our specialists will work together to determine the best treatment or arrange for your baby to receive care at a location that provides that level of care.

If you’d like more information on what level your nearest NICU is, speak to your birthing provider.

FAQs

As a parent, you are welcome in the NICU any time, day or night, and you’re encouraged to take an active part in caring for your baby. You can also call the NICU anytime for updates about your baby’s progress.

Each hospital will update you on their visiting guidelines when you and your baby arrive.

To protect the health of babies in the NICU:

  • Wash your hands carefully before entering the NICU, since newborn and premature babies can’t fight off infections.
  • Visitors experiencing symptoms of cold, flu, or other illness—or who have been recently exposed to one—will not be allowed into the NICU. During flu season and the COVID-19 pandemic, siblings may not be allowed in the NICU.
  • If you feel ill or have a cold, fever, sore throat, cold sore, or draining wound, tell your baby’s nurse or doctor. He or she can teach you about special precautions to avoid infecting your baby.
  • To protect the confidentiality of our patients and families, we ask that you stay at your baby’s bedside and not ask about other babies in the NICU when you visit.

Having a baby in the NICU can be overwhelming. To help you find strength through the journey, many of our hospitals have support groups and patient advisory councils to connect current NICU parents with former NICU parents.

In addition, some hospitals host monthly activities, like scrapbooking, for NICU families to interact with one another in a supportive and enjoyable environment.

In cases where you may be ready to leave the hospital but your little one still needs care in the NICU, many of our facilities offer guest rooms in the hospital to allow you to be close to your baby.

Resources for expecting parents

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