This refers to a condition in which the red blood cells in the blood, are lower than normal. Red blood cells carry oxygen and carbon dioxide to and from the tissue.


A prolonged pause in breathing that lasts more than twenty seconds. This is a common problem in premature infants to have an irregular pattern of breathing. Read more about lightning link slot free coins. This requires monitoring and if it occurs, the breathing monitor and sometimes the heart monitor alarms go off prompting the nurse to help the baby to begin breathing again.

She may tickle him or rub his body to remind him to breathe. She may also have to give him breaths of air with the resuscitation bag at his bedside and sometimes medication such as caffeine. Most frequently, apnea is due to an immaturity of the breathing control center in the brain and will go away in time.


This is a medical condition resulting from deprivation of oxygen to a newborn infant that lasts long enough during birth to cause physical harm, usually to the brain. Serious damage can occur to most of the infant’s organs (heart, lungs, liver, gut, kidneys), but brain damage is of most risk and perhaps the least likely to quickly or completely heal.

In more pronounced cases, an infant will survive, but with mental complications, such as developmental delay and intellectual or physical disability. It is commonly attributed to a drop in maternal blood pressure or some other substantial interference with blood flow to the infant’s brain during delivery.


Inhaling a foreign substance into the lungs such as milk, stomach fluids, meconium, or medicine.


A condition found in infants who display auditory characteristics consistent with normal outer hair cell function and abnormal neural function at the level of the vestibule-cochlear nerve.


An abnormal slowing of the baby’s heart rate. Usually less than 100.


A chronic lung disease that is most common among children who were born prematurely, with low birth weight, and who received prolonged mechanical ventilation.


It is a disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture that is caused by damage that occurs to the immature, developing brain, most often before birth. It appears in the first few years of life, and the diagnosis means your baby will have problems moving parts of his/her body. The full extent of the condition is not visible immediately.

CONGENITAL DEFECTS (defect present at birth)

These defects may vary from simple to life threatening. Sometimes the defect needs quick correction while at other times surgery is best delayed. These decisions are made on an individual basis, by a team. The team includes parents, social worker, geneticist, pediatrician, surgeon, physical therapist, etc.

Genetics is involved to educate the family and the health care team about several aspects of care. Often, more than one birth defect may be present. Thus, several tests may be needed to make sure that no occult (hidden) defect is overlooked. The most common organ to be affected by a defect at birth is the heart. Infants are born with congenital heart disease.

CONGENITAL HEART DISEASE (also heart defect present at birth)

Some babies are born with problems in the form or function of their heart. The heart is responsible for pumping blood to all parts of the body. The healthy heart has four chambers which each serve a specific function.

The heart receives used blood from the body, pumping it to the lungs for oxygen. It then receives fresh blood from the lungs, and sends it out to the body again. When any part of the heart or its major vessels is abnormal or does not function well, medical or surgical treatment may be necessary. A variety of tests will help to determine the specific problem in the heart.

Some problems can be treated easily, while others may be very complex and life threatening. When a heart problem is suspected or diagnosed, a cardiologist and a cardiac surgeon, if needed, will be added to the team. They will be able to give you more details about your baby’s heart and what treatments may be needed.


Refers to the blueness to the skin and mucous membranes on mainly the baby’s hands or feet. It is usually caused by low oxygen levels in the red blood cells or problems getting oxygenated blood to the body.


A drop of oxygen levels in the baby’s bloodstream.

EDEMA (also Oedema)

This is the swelling or puffiness of the skin from a build-up of fluid in body tissues.


As known as reflux, this occurs when gastric juice from the stomach backs up into the oesaphagus. It generally refers to a type of spitting up or regurgitation common in premature infants.


The protrusion of an organ or structure into surrounding tissues that should not be there.


A condition of abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (the normal fluid which bathes the brain and spinal cord) in the ventricles of the brain. This exerts increased pressure on the brain causing the baby’s head to expand abnormally. Corrective surgery may be required in some cases.


An elevated level of bilirubin in the blood.


A low amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood.


Low blood pressure.


A hole in the small intestine.


Soreness, redness and swelling that is possibly caused by infection or injury.


Inadequate growth of the foetus so that it is smaller than expected for the particular gestational age.


This is a condition in which immature and fragile blood vessels within the brain burst and bleed into the ventricles (hollow chambers) normally reserved for cerebrospinal fluid and into the tissue surrounding them. Sometimes the bleeding is so minor that it does not get into the ventricles at all, but only causes minor blood clots at their edges. At other times, bleeding can get into the hollow spaces themselves or even extend into the brain.

The most common hemorrhages are minor and do little if any harm. An IVH is assigned a grade from 1-4 to give an estimate of how serious it is. Grades 1 and 2 are usually minor. Grades 3 and 4 also can result in little or no harm, but with these grades of hemorrhages the baby’s development must be observed more closely, as there is an increased possibility of brain damage. Babies are tested for this by ultrasound of the head. Sometimes more than one test is needed. At times other studies such as Computed Tomography (CT scan) or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI scan) are needed.

JAUNDICE (also Hyperbilirubinemia)

A yellow coloration of the skin and eyes caused by increased amounts of bilirubin in the blood and common in babies. Bilirubin is formed by the normal breakdown of red blood cells. Bilirubin is cleared by the liver and removed from the body. A premature baby’s liver may not be able to perform this job efficiently. A blood test can be done to check the amount of bilirubin in the blood. If it is more than the normal amount, treatment will be started.

Light of a specific wave-length and intensity (phototherapy or bililights) will help lower the bilirubin. The baby’s eyes will be kept covered with small eye patches while allowing his body to be completely exposed to light. Usually a few days of this treatment will resolve the jaundice. Rarely, the jaundice may be severe enough to require an exchange transfusion. (The baby’s blood, which is high in bilirubin, would be slowly replaced by donated blood low in bilirubin.


Any patch of abnormal skin or any small part of an injury or infection that is abnormal and causes an illness.

MAS (Meconium Aspiration Syndrome)

These are problems caused by meconium (baby stool) going into the baby’s lungs. This causes problems with breathing after the baby is born and can be serious in rare cases. Treatment for this problem may include placing a tube into the baby’s lungs and cleaning them out with suction. The baby may need oxygen, chest therapy and even the help of a ventilator. The body clears the last traces naturally.


An inflammation of the lining with fluid that cushions and surrounds the brain and spinal cord from infection.


A condition in which the circumference of the head is small because of abnormal brain growth. This condition may or may not result in future learning problems.


It is common for twins, triplets, or quadruplets to need some time in the NICU before going home. Often, this is because they are born prematurely. Sometimes, they have special medical problems related to their growth in the womb together. Also, birth defects are more common in multiple births.

Parenting multiples is challenging. You will have two (or three or four) times the emotional ups and downs of the NICU. It may be difficult to keep track of information on more than one baby at the same time. If one baby is having a problem, it may be difficult to be happy for the one/others doing well. Also, it is not unusual for one baby to go home before the other. Visiting may become more difficult when you have one new baby at home and one in the hospital.


The inability to see a distant object as clearly as nearer objects.


An infection of the wall of the intestines, which may spread to the blood. Premature babies are particularly vulnerable to this disease. Surgery is sometimes necessary to remove damaged intestine, and the baby may need prolonged feeding by vein until he recovers.


A heart condition caused by the failure of the Ductus Arteriosus to close. Usually, this small opening between the aorta and the pulmonary artery closes just after birth. Before birth, a lot of blood does not need to go to the baby’s lungs to pick up oxygen because oxygen is supplied by the mother’s bloodstream through the placenta.

The blood is directed away from his lungs and to the rest of his body by a vessel called the ductus arteriosus. When it does not, the baby may be treated with medicine or surgery to fix the condition. Usually medication is the preferred treatment and most often is successful. Either will be explained to you before it is begun.


This is the softening of the white matter of the brain near the ventricles. The softening occurs because brain tissue in this area has died. This may result in future problems with learning, vision or movement.


This happens when it is difficult for the blood to get into the lungs and pick up more oxygen that can go to the rest of the body. The cause is usually unknown, and treatment is based on the individual baby’s situation.


A rare disorder in which one of the amino acids (a building block of protein) cannot be handled normally by the baby, leading to elevated levels in the blood. Babies with PKU require a special diet. A blood test done on special paper that tests for several different genetic disorders. It is often done 24-72 hours after birth and repeated on preemie babies at 2weeks and 4 weeks of age.


Leakage of air from the normal passageways of the lung into the space surrounding the heart inside the chest. A pneumomediastinum is usually harmless in itself, but is often associated with a pneumothorax, which can be life-threatening if large.


Leakage of air from the normal passageways of the lung into the space surrounding the lung inside the chest wall, causing a partial or complete collapse of the lung. This buildup of air puts pressure on the lung, so it cannot expand as much as it normally does when you take a breath.

If large enough, this will cause difficulty breathing and the air may need removal by placing either a needle (for one time removal) or a plastic tube (for continuous removal) in the chest. The tube may need gentle suction to draw out the trapped air. This tube is left in place until the air is removed and the lung is no longer leaking air. This may take a few or many days.


Normally, pregnancy lasts from 37 to 42 Weeks (approximately nine months). Infants born before 37 weeks are considered to be premature. Although a premature baby may not be fully prepared for life outside the womb, he has been completely formed (even fingers, toes, and nails) since he was 12 weeks old. Most of a premature baby’s problems result from a lack of time to acquire the more mature characteristics such as fat, some enzymes, and internal body regulators.

The size and frailty of your premature baby may frighten you at first. This will lessen as you visit more often and get to know him. Premature babies look different than full term babies. The most apparent difference is size. They may weigh anywhere from just over 500 grams to 2 kilograms, depending on the length of the pregnancy.

Prematurity carries with it a wide range of potential problems, from mild to severe. Fortunately, in the last decade, great advances have been made in the understanding of premature babies. Now, the chances are much greater for premature babies to grow up to live happy, healthy lives.

RESPIRATORY DISTRESS SYNDROME (RDS) (also Hyaline Membrane Disease)

A common breathing problem of premature infants caused by insufficient surfactant in the baby’s immature lungs. This results in an excessive stiffness of the baby’s lungs and difficulty in breathing. In this disease, there is a relative lack of surfactant. Surfactant coats the lining of the lungs and allows them to inflate easily and retain air.

Surfactant frequently is not present in sufficient amounts until the last month of pregnancy. Insufficient amounts will cause the baby to work harder to take deep breaths. This can be very tiring. Some of the medical help required may be oxygen, CPAP, a ventilator, or adding surfactant into the baby’s windpipe (trachea).


A virus that causes mild respiratory infections, colds and coughs in adults but can produce severe respiratory problems including bronchitis and pneumonia in young babies.


A condition in which the blood vessels in the baby’s eyes do not develop normally. ROP is a problem of the retina (back part of the eye that sees). It occurs mostly in very premature infants. Most cases are not severe and get better on their own. However, on occasion, it can threaten vision in one or both eyes, and surgery may be necessary to improve the chance for sight.


A short circuiting of the electrical activity in the brain, sometimes causing involuntary muscle activity or stiffening. There are many causes of seizures. If your baby has a seizure, speak with your baby’s doctor about this condition and its implications.


A potentially fatal and dangerous condition in which the body is fighting a severe infection that has spread via the bloodstream. Babies are generally more prone to infection than adults. If the medical team suspects your baby has an infection, tests may be needed. Samples of blood and/or other body fluids may be sent to the laboratory. Tests to detect infection may take many days. Broad-spectrum antibiotics may be started right away.


The most common abnormal tachycardia (fast heart rate) in children.


Fast heart rate.


Rapid breathing.


Rapid breathing of the newborn shortly after birth caused by too much fluid in the lungs.


A disease of the placenta or afterbirth that affects the identical twin pregnancies. The shared placenta contains abnormal blood vessels which connect the umbilical cord and circulation of the twins.

Follow us