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Women & Infants operates one of the nation’s largest single-family room Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU), where the latest technology and highly skilled specialists care for babies born prematurely or sick.
The NICU provides comprehensive care through the coordinated efforts of social workers, occupational therapists, nutritionists, respiratory therapists, neonatal nurses, neonatal nurse practitioners, neonatal-perinatal fellows, and attending neonatologists and pediatricians. Practitioners skilled in the care and stabilization of sick newborns are available in-house 24 hours a day. The single-family room model also encourages families to be actively involved in their baby’s care.
Having a new baby who requires the care of a newborn intensive care unit (NICU) can be overwhelming. The providers and staff in Women & Infants’ Carter Family NICU, as well as the March of Dimes NICU Family Support, welcome new families and offer information about what to expect in the NICU and what resources are available. This journey begins with all of us working together to take care of your baby.
Each room has a special couch that converts to a bed so parents can spend the night with their baby. On the two-story unit, there is also plenty of space dedicated to families for rest, eating lunch, or making phone calls with status updates. A beautiful family lounge stretches from the first floor to the second in the NICU, featuring a full kitchen, showers for parents, computers, a play area for older siblings, and a mesmerizing saltwater fish tank.
Families also find support in the unit’s full-time parent advocate, sponsored by a grant from the Rhode Island Parent Information Network, and a March of Dimes’ parent advocate.
The Women & Infants NICU is a special place. Nearly 25 percent of babies born here are to high-risk mothers, and 11 percent are premature. Our survival rates for very low birth weight infants are well above national averages.
The newborn nursery service is led by Dr. Adam Czynski. This service includes a team of pediatricians, pediatric and family practice residents, and medical students from The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. This team of physicians works in concert with the mother-baby nurses, lactation consultants, and other sub-specialty consultants to meet the specific needs of the family and to ensure continuity of care.
Over the last year, the newborn nursery service has expanded to include community physicians with a specialized interest in the care of the newborns and the supervision of residents to provide pediatric attendings seven days a week. This caring environment is enhanced with the involvement of our dedicated community and voluntary medical staff who partner with us to provide individualized care to our families.
We encourage you to visit your baby as soon and as often as you wish. We ask, however, that you follow the guidelines below:
You may be anxious about your first visit to the NICU, but it’s important to bond with your baby, despite his or her hospitalization. When you come to the nursery, stop at the reception desk and sign in. You may be asked to show identification or a hospital wristband. The secretary will hand you a scrub brush and then you may go to your baby's room. There are instructions on proper scrubbing in your baby's room or you may ask your nurse for help.
Siblings can visit any time. However, we request vaccination records, which include flu shots, for all children under age 13.
You can take as many pictures of your baby as you wish. To protect the privacy of other families, please photograph your child only.
The NICU Family Advisory Council (NFAC), founded in 2006, is a vital and respected group composed of parents of former NICU babies and current NICU managers and staff.
Click here to learn more about the NFAC's mission and how you can help.
Once discharged from the hospital, babies from the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and SCN are directed to the Women & Infants Neonatal Follow-Up Program for supplemental care. The staff, which includes developmental pediatricians, neonatologists, a nurse practitioner, a psychologist, a psychometrist, and a nutritionist provide services for infants who were born weighing less than 1250 grams, discharged on oxygen or a monitor, or who had other special problems as a newborn.
We will evaluate your baby’s physical condition, growth parameters, and tests of reflexes, vision, hearing, development, language, and motor assessment. We share these results with you and your private physician.
We review the baby’s history of;
For additional information read our latest issue of Neonatal Follow-Up Clinic News.
The Neonatal Follow-Up Clinic is handicap-accessible and is located at:
134 Thurbers Ave., Providence, RI
Phone (401) 453-7750, during clinic hours (401) 274-1122, extension 1227, during off-hours
Our hours of operation are:
Tuesdays 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Wednesdays 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Third Thursday of each month 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Before you take your baby home, we will help you:
If your baby was born at less than 35 weeks, we will also monitor him or her in the car seat before discharge.
Bring clothes, a blanket, and the car seat on the day of discharge. Discharge is between 1:15 and 2 p.m.
Taking your baby home is a very exciting time, but we know you may have questions. We provide telephone support during the first few days at home.
In addition, Women & Infants offers the following services:
Many infants in the NICU or SCN may have difficulty sucking, swallowing, and breathing, which might make nipple feeding impossible. These babies must be fed initially through a special tube. After your baby gets stronger and grows, he or she will be fed by mouth. By the time of discharge, your baby will be taking all food by either breast or bottle.
Your social worker may be able to help. Once your baby’s condition is stable, he or she may be able to transfer to a SCN closer to home.
Contact one of our financial counselors at (401) 274-1122, ext. 41419, or speak with your social worker. We routinely help families apply for such programs as WIC or medical assistance.
Let us know when you are coming to visit so we can coordinate the care of your baby to involve you. Discuss this with your baby’s nurse and let your needs be known.
Small toys or stuffed animals, family photos, socks, and clothing are all great ideas. Do not bring anything of great value, plants, or balloons.
Infants who need a transfusion receive blood products that are rigorously screened by the Rhode Island Blood Center and distributed through Women & Infants’ Blood Bank. You can discuss participating in our Direct Donor program with your baby’s physician
Our Health Education Department offers a wide range of programs for new parents, including:
For more information, please contact the Health Education Department at extension 6-7030 or direct dial at (401) 276-7800, or view our classes. Women & Infants Warm Line (1-800-711-7011) is available to answer any questions parents may have concerning newborn care and breastfeeding.
We encourage any mother who wishes to breastfeed to do so.
If your baby is too sick or small to nurse, you can pump your breasts as soon as possible after delivery to assure a good milk supply. Your nurse can provide a pump kit and help you begin. Electric pumps are also available in the family rooms, just attach your kit to it. Sterile containers are available in the nursery. Ask your baby’s nurse for a supply. Mark each container with the date and time the breast milk was expressed.
Freeze all breast milk until your baby begins to eat. Do not allow the milk to thaw en route to the hospital because thawed breast milk can only be used for 24 hours. Frozen breast milk lasts up to six months. Fresh milk is good for 48 hours when refrigerated and one hour at room temperature.
Our weekly Mothers Milk Club – which meets Wednesdays at 3 p.m. - offers you a chance to learn from a certified lactation consultant and share experiences with other mothers.
We may assign a primary nurse to your baby if he or she is expected to be in the NICU for a while. This nurse will care for your baby as often as possible and will be familiar with you and your baby, which provides important continuity for the baby. The primary nurse can help you keep in touch with the medical team.
Some babies may have more than one primary nurse, on alternating schedules or shifts, or none at all. Please do not be concerned. All of our nurses are skilled in neonatal nursing, and your baby will receive the same level of expert care.
Fullness or swelling of the abdomen (stomach), causing it to look bigger than normal.
Measurement of the abdomen (stomach) just above the umbilicus (belly button).
Ambag is attached to a mask or endotracheal tube and is used to give oxygen to the baby.
A small, plastic tube is used to give intravenous fluids; commonly called an IV.
Medications are used to fight infection.
A yellow pigment can be seen in the skin of most newborn infants.
Plastic tubing is inserted into the body, including those catheters used for feeding, suctioning, delivering IV fluids, and removing urine for specimens.
Cubic centimeter; a metric measurement used to measure fluid; one cc is the same as one ml (milliliter); 5 cc = 1 teaspoon, 15 cc = 1/2 ounce, 30 cc = 1 ounce, 60 cc = 2 ounces.
Tapping or vibrating the chest to loosen mucus from the lungs before suctioning.
A tube placed in the chest, just outside of the lungs, creates a negative pressure (like a vacuum) to keep the lungs open.
Removal of the penis foreskin.
Age of baby in weeks after conception.
Measurement of blood glucose (sugar) level.
Sodium (salt), potassium, and chloride, essential body elements that may be checked in the blood or urine or may be added to the IV fluid.
A tube in the trachea (windpipe) to help breathing.
Removal of the tube from the trachea (windpipe).
Giving formula or breast milk through a gavage tube.
A small, plastic tube placed from the nose to stomach (called a nasogastric or NG tube) or from the mouth to stomach (called an orogastric or OG tube) through which the baby receives formula, breast milk or medications; also may be used to allow air to escape when baby is on NCPAP.
Age of the baby from the time of conception to birth (full-term = 40 weeks).
Metric measurement of weight (454 grams = 1 pound).
Deep, short noises are heard when a baby is having trouble breathing.
A small, silver or gold probe, usually placed on the stomach or back, to monitor body temperature and regulate the warming table or incubator temperature.
A small, plastic shield placed over any baby less than 1500 grams creates additional protection against drafts.
Concentration of red blood cells in the blood; red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body.
Insertion of a small amount of heparin (a medication that keeps the blood from clotting) into an IV so it can be clamped off temporarily and used again at a later time for medications.
Head of the infant’s bed.
A small, Plexiglas hood is placed over the infant’s head through which oxygen is given.
Warm mist is placed over the premature baby within the first days to help prevent water loss and keep his/her skin from drying and cracking.
IV solution containing sugars, proteins, and essential vitamins and minerals.
Temporary bruising, redness, or swelling around an IV site caused by leakage of IV fluid out of a vein and under the skin.
Record of all fluid an infant receives (both IV and by mouth), as well as the amount of urine the infant makes.
IV fat preparation is given for nourishment and growth.
Fluid is given directly into a vein.
Placing a tube in the trachea (windpipe) so the baby’s breathing can be assisted by a ventilator.
An enclosed bed that is heated to keep the infant warm.
A machine that controls the rate and amount of IV fluid given.
Yellow coloring of the skin or eyes is caused by a build-up of bilirubin in the bloodstream.
An x-ray of the infant’s abdomen (stomach and intestines).
Fine, downy hair (the amount of which can vary) is seen mostly on premature infants; though it usually covers the entire body, it is most noticeable on the baby’s shoulders and back.
Three probes are attached to the infant; white is placed on the right, black is placed on the left, and green is placed on the leg with the cables leading to a monitor to obtain a recording of the infant’s heart and respiratory rates.
Removal of a small amount of spinal fluid to check for the presence of blood or infection.
Baby’s first bowel movements, usually dark green and of a pasty consistency.
Condition when the baby inhales meconium during or before his/her birth and which may cause pneumonia.
Small white or yellow, “pimple-like” bumps on the infant’s skin, usually on the nose or chin, which will go away without treatment as the baby gets older.
Bluish spots over the lower back or buttocks that may be present at birth, usually found on dark-skinned infants.
Small, clear prongs are inserted into the nose to give oxygen.
An indication of trouble breathing; the nostrils open widely with breaths.
Continuous positive airway pressure; nasal prongs (short or long) provide a small amount of air, oxygen, and pressure into the lungs to help the baby breathe on his/her own by keeping the lungs from collapsing.
Infection of the intestines is caused by bacteria and/or decreased blood flow to the intestine.
Nothing by mouth.
Gas, essential for life which is carried by the blood from the lungs to the tissues; concentrated oxygen may be given through an Ambu bag, ventilator, hood, nasal CPAP, or prongs.
Blood vessel opening near the heart which did not close after birth.
Fluorescent lights are placed over the infant to treat jaundice.
Sometimes placed over the warmer; used to help keep the baby warm.
Air leaks from the lungs to the space between the lung and ribcage.
An infant born before 37 weeks gestation.
A probe with a red light is used to detect how much oxygen is in the blood.
Sign of difficulty breathing, noted by inward pulling (retracting) of the chest muscles, causing an indentation of the middle of the chest and between the ribs.
The air around us contains 21 percent oxygen.
Times each day when the medical, nursing, and social work staff discuss each baby’s progress and make decisions regarding his/her care.
The measure of oxygen in the blood; in most cases, a reading on a pulse oximeter of 82 or higher can be expected.
Abnormal, increased electrical impulses in the brain which may cause jerking movements, rolling back of the eyes, sucking motions, and stiffening of the arms and legs.
Group of tests used to determine if an infection exists; consists primarily of a lumbar puncture, blood counts, blood culture, and urine culture.
Removal of the mucus in the trachea (windpipe), nose, mouth, or stomach with a catheter.
Medication that helps the lungs expand (open) more easily.
Heart rate more than 170 beats per minute while resting.
Sign of respiratory difficulty noted by a rapid rate of breathing, usually more than 60 to 70 breaths per minute.
Measures oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood instantly and continuously by the use of a skin probe.
Very thin, plastic tube placed in a blood vessel in the umbilicus to give fluids, obtain blood samples and monitor blood pressure.
Thin, plastic tubing placed in an artery of the umbilicus; used to give fluids, obtain blood samples and monitor blood pressure.
Thin, plastic tubing is inserted into the vein in the umbilicus to give fluid and monitor pressure.
Blood vessel that carries unoxygenated blood to the heart.
Machine used to breathe or assist breathing.
Pulse (heart rate), respirations (breathing rate), temperature, and blood pressure.
Open bed that uses radiant heat to keep the infant warm; warmer temperature is automatically regulated by a heat probe placed on the infant.
Pictures of the inside of the body used to assist in diagnosis.
We have enjoyed caring for your baby and are pleased he or she can finally go home. Please view our newborn care section for helpful information that you can use once you and your baby are home.
Remember, you can also call the Warm Line nurses at 1-800-711-7011. This free service answers questions about postpartum recovery, breastfeeding, newborn care, and other women's health issues. Call weekdays, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m., or 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. on weekends. Leave a message and a nurse will return your call within an hour.
Discharge time is scheduled from 1 to 2 p.m., please be prepared to leave with your baby during this time. We understand that there may be circumstances that do not allow you to leave during that time. If so, please contact the nurse manager or assistant nurse manager through the secretary on your floor to discuss options.