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Special care baby unit (SCBU/NNICU)

Advice on why babies may need special treatment in the hospital special care baby unit (SCBU) or neonatal intensive care unit (NNICU)
Some babies need special care in hospital, sometimes on the ordinary postnatal ward and sometimes in a Neonatal Unit (NNU), also known as a Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) or Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The difference between Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NNICU) and Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) lies in the level of care needed by each baby. Care given in SCBU is less intensive than that given in a NNICU. Sometimes babies who are very ill or small start in NNICU and progress to SCBU as their condition improves. The SCBU is less warm than the NNICU and some units have an even cooler room to acclimatise babies to cooler temperatures before going home.

Babies who may need special care include:
  • babies who are born early. Babies born earlier than 34 weeks may need extra help breathing, feeding and keeping warm, and the earlier they are born the more help they are likely to need
  • babies who are very small or who have life-threatening conditions, usually affecting their breathing, heart and circulation
  • babies born to diabetic mothers, or babies where the delivery has been very difficult, may need to be kept under close observation for a time
  • babies with very marked jaundice
  • babies awaiting or recovering from complex surgery

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Kelly Lou my experience was very simular to you. I went for a birthing talk and ended up getting sent to UHW for emergency C section as he stopped moving and swallowed miconium and had cord round neck.
by leo2010 14th May 2010, 4:39pm
my baby girl who is now 3 was born at 30 weeks as she didnt want to wait when she was born she decided she didnt want to breath and was revived 3 times in the first 24 hours of her life she had to stay in the nnicu for 5 months and 4 days i found it very hard to bond with her as i was being selfish and didnt want to love and care for something that may of just been taken away from me if u kno wat i mean. i am now pregnant again and the doctors have already told me they will be taking me when im 36 weeks so im a little nervous but atleast now i will kno wat to except and that i kno how good the staff are in the nnicu they r the best xxx
by sybb 19th Mar 2009, 9:29am
my sister was born at 24 weeks, i know its not the same as it being my child. but it was emotional too, and as i was only 12 when it happened it took a while to move on. my mum is a very very strong person, and she held the family together. i think its important to talk through what happened with someone who shared the experience with you. talk about how you feel rather than bottling it inside. my sister is now 7, she has cerebral palsy (only mild though). looking at her now, how far she has come and how happy she is i can put what happened behind me. i know how traumatic it is when theyre in special care but life is so short and precious that you need to enjoy what you have now, enjoy life with your little boy.
by han19 6th Mar 2009, 9:08am
My baby is coming up to his 1st birthday, he was delivered by emergency c-section due to his heart rate dropping and meconium in my waters when he was arrived he was very poorly and it was touch and go for a bit, he spent a month in Neonatal intensive care and then special care. I am finding it very difficult to forget what happened, I have been ok since talking to birth afterthoughts several months a go but coming up to his birthday it is all coming back, I am having vivid flashbacks and am very emotional - has anyone else been through anything simliar and if so how did you cope?
by KellyLou77 17th Feb 2009, 9:39am

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