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Who needs to go to the NICU?

All expectant parents hope that their babies will be healthy. However, sometimes problems arise that require a newborn to be hospitalized. When this happens, the baby may be admitted to the NICU for treatment. While this can be a stressful and emotional experience, the doctors, nurses and other caregivers will do their best to provide emotional support for you while caring for your infant's medical needs.

Babies who need to go to the unit are often admitted within the first 24 hours after birth. Babies may be sent to the NICU if:

  • they're born prematurely
  • difficulties occur during their delivery
  • they show signs of a problem in the first few days of life

Only very young babies (or babies with a condition linked to being born prematurely) are treated in the NICU. They are usually infants who haven't gone home from the hospital yet after being born. How long these infants remain in the unit can vary from a few days to several weeks or even months depending on the severity of their illness.