Neonatology: Stages, Procedures & Diagnostics | Narayana Health


Our dedicated team of Neonatologists and our Modern Medical facilities provide Specialist Care to Infants requiring care for a wide range of Complex Medical Problems.

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Neonatology department at Narayana Health provides specialist care to infants who are ill or require care for a wide range of issues which include premature birth, congenital defects, and sepsis.

Neonatologists at Narayana Health have extensive training and experience and are backed by qualified medical staff and modern medical facilities including Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) which help them provide comprehensive care for infants. Additionally, the Neonatologists’ team also works to identify diseases and disorders before birth so that the family can be better prepared to care for the child.

The Neonatologists monitor for various diseases and issues such as-

  • Neonatal jaundice (hyperbilirubinemia)
  • Infant respiratory distress syndrome
  • Neonatal sepsis
  • Neonatal bowel obstruction
  • Benign neonatal seizures
  • Neonatal hepatitis
  • Neonatal hypoglycemia
  • Perinatal asphyxia

Neonatologists: What do they do?

A paediatrician can manage almost all the medical care needs of your baby, but for conditions involving higher risk and complexity, the intervention of a neonatologist is necessary. Special care areas usually called Neonatal intensive care units or NICUs are where these little ones are cared for and treated with gentle care appropriate to their very delicate state. In case, the issue is identified before the baby is born, the neonatologist will assist during the time of delivery and subsequent care of the new-born. They may also provide short-term follow-up care after a new-born or infant has been discharged. The roles and responsibilities that neonatologists perform are as follows.

  • Accurate and precise diagnosis of new-borns to identify congenital defects, infections, breathing disorders and other issues
  • Assist in the coordinated care and management of premature or critically ill new-borns
  • Ensuring proper nutrition for faster growth and recovery of the new-borns
  • Ensuring proper care for babies who were delivered with medical problems in the mother
  • Stabilizing any life-threatening conditions
  • Coordinating with paediatricians, obstetricians and other personnel of the healthcare team to come up with the best possible treatment plan

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) caters to the special needs of new-born and critically ill babies. With advanced technology equipment and trained healthcare personnel, NICUs offer a safe area for babies who may not be ill but need some kind of specialized nursing care.

Babies have to stay in the NICU until the neonatologist and the healthcare team feel they are ready to go home, which can take several months if the baby is born very premature depending on the condition and treatment. This is quite different from paediatric intensive care units, where patients are usually discharged when they are stable and do not need constant monitoring. Therefore, NICUs are often located in a separate or distinct region so that a true intensive care unit can be established, where the doctors, nurses, and the healthcare staff focus most of their time on the treatment and recovery of babies with serious conditions.

When is a Neonatalogist consulted?

NICU is a special unit to treat babies who are prematurely born or very ill. As these babies can be extremely fragile, they will need advanced medical care and attention that only NICUs can offer. Here are some conditions that require a baby to be admitted to the NICU.

  • Prematurity
  • Early term infants
  • Birth weight less than 5.5 pounds
  • Lack of oxygen leading to seizures, kidney or heart failure called perinatal asphyxia
  • Developmental anomalies, brain malformations, and other congenital defects
  • Hereditary or genetic disorders of any kind
  • Heart problems
  • Sepsis (serious infections)
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome or respiratory failure
  • Injuries during the birth process or shortly after
  • Trauma
  • Seizures

What to expect at a NICU Unit

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit can be a frightening and difficult place for parents. But if they are aware of what to expect, they can be less afraid and understand that the procedures and methods are for the benefit of the baby as well as the family.

During their time in the NICU, the babies will be placed in enclosed and transparent plastic cribs called incubators or in open warmer units. The incubators or warmers help to maintain the temperature of the baby. As they are heated, the baby doesn’t have to be in blankets. The caps may, however, be kept on the baby to keep their heads warm. Incubators eliminate the risks of any possible infection or illness that could harm premature babies. Besides, they also have a feature to control the moisture levels so that the babies are not dehydrated.

Inside the incubators, wires attached to the babies help to constantly monitor the baby’s vital signs, such as heart rate, breathing temperature and blood pressure. To provide them with oxygen, medicines and fluids, tubes may also be attached. Additionally, a respirator machine may be provided to ensure that premature and critically ill babies don’t develop respiratory complications.

Neonatology FAQs

Where Can I Find a Neonatologist?

Neonatologists practise in children’s hospitals, and in neonatal hospitals. You can ask for a reference from your paediatrician or obstetrician for a neonatologist if your newborn baby needs special care.

What is NICU?

NICU is a nursery in a hospital that provides around-the-clock care to sick or premature babies. The NICU combines advanced technology and skilled health care professionals to provide specialized care for babies. At Narayana Health, the NICU, Newborn Intensive Care Unit comprises of experts of all kinds -

  • Neonatologists and specially trained nurse practitioners
  • Registered Paediatric Nurses
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Speech, occupational and physical therapists
  • Pharmacists
  • Clinical laboratory technicians
  • Neonatal nutritionists
  • Lactation consultants
  • Developmental specialists
  • Transport specialists
  • Physician assistants

What is the difference between a Paediatrician and Neonatologist?

Paediatricians diagnose and treat the diseases, injuries and medical conditions of children whereas Neonatology is a subspecialty of paediatrics which is specialized care and treatment of newborns, primarily those who are underweight, premature or in need of acute care. Neonatologists differ from other paediatricians mainly in their degree of specialization.

General paediatricians are responsible for routine care and treatment for children. This is similar to what an internist is responsible for adult treatment. A neonatologist is responsible for the health of newborns, which requires specific knowledge of the factors that affect their chances of survival and growth.

What are the duties of a Neonatal Pediatrician?

Neonatologists offer care both during delivery and after the babys birth. Their main duties are:

Pregnancy and Delivery

Neonatologists assist in deliveries that require intervention for serious medical complications or a complicated cesarean section.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

Neonatal paediatricians are the backbone at NICU, where they use their special training and equipment designed especially for small newborns with life-threatening conditions.

Coordination of Care

A neonatologist coordinates care with the obstetrician or other professionals, including doctors who specialize in the newborns particular medical condition.

Follow-Up Care

They also participate in the follow-up care of newborn babies.