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