It is a smile of a baby that makes life worth living. - Debasish Mridha

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Neonatology

Neonatology is a subspeciality of paediatrics. In some cases, newborns may need special medical attention to ensure their journey into the world is a healthy & comfortable one. A subspecialty of paediatrics, neonatology is dedicated to premature newborns or babies who are born with medical complexities. This could be a low birth weight, internal infections, lungs that aren’t functioning as they should, & more.

A neonatologist usually attends to newborns until they are one month old. At Medcare, we know that not all journeys are the same which is why we see babies until they are six months old. Once a baby is older than six months, they are seen by a paediatrician for checkups & health concerns.

Medcare Women & Children Hospital’s Neonatology Unit is committed to providing unparalleled neonatal intensive care to your baby while also providing emotional support to your family. We understand this could be an emotionally-challenging time for you. Our patient & family-centric compassion is a key reason we are the hospital of choice in the UAE.

What does a neonatologist do?

A neonatologist’s focus is to ensure babies are given the proper medical attention & treatment to set them up for a healthy life ahead. No one day is like the other in a neonatologist’s life. A typical day at work for a neonatologist involves diagnosing & treating newborns with birth defects, internal infections, or life-threatening conditions. Premature babies require close attention & a thorough course of nutrition to ensure they recover & grow; a neonatologist would handle & coordinate such conditions. 

Caring for newborns, especially those with medical complications, requires special training. Given how fragile a newborn’s body & immune system is, a neonatologist is specially trained to provide timely & effective care. At Medcare Women & Children Hospital, our NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) team is available around the clock while also working closely with medical experts from related paediatric subspecialties. 

This thorough approach ensures your baby receives the highest level of care. When booking your pre-birth visit to Medcare Women & Children Hospital, you can discuss your queries or concerns with our neonatologists & also tour the facility where your baby will stay while being nurtured to full health.

What conditions can affect a newborn during the neonatal period?

Some newborns, especially those born before nine months, may experience challenges with adjusting to life outside the womb. Being born prematurely may lead to a low birth weight & other medical complications; as a result of not having enough time to fully develop inside the womb. Immune system disorders are commonly seen in neonatology; as a consequence of a newborn’s immune system being underdeveloped or compromised.

Medical conditions that can affect a newborn include:

  • Apnea of Prematurity: This is often witnessed in premature babies. It is caused when the part of the brain that is responsible for breathing does not have the time to fully develop within the womb. Babies with this condition may have a slow heart rate & dull or bluish skin & lips.
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia: This occurs when a premature baby has lung disease. Signs include irregular breathing & dull or bluish skin & lips.
  • Meconium Aspiration Syndrome: This condition arises when an unborn baby passes meconium, a sterile substance in their intestines, into the amniotic fluid as a response to stress (like insufficient oxygen). This causes them to open their mouth in a gasp & inhale meconium into their lungs which can result in labored breathing when the baby is born.
  • Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn: This happens from lack of oxygen in a newborn’s blood. It is a serious condition that is indicated by rapid breathing & dull or bluish skin & lips.
  • Pneumothorax in the Newborn: This condition is caused by stress on a newborn’s respiratory system, causing breathing problems.
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome in Newborns: This condition occurs when there is an insufficiency in a substance called surfactant, preventing the air sacs in a newborn baby’s lungs from remaining open. Signs of this condition include labored breathing & dull or bluish skin & lips.
  • Transient Tachypnea of the Newborn: This condition can equally be observed in premature & full-term newborns. It is caused by an excess of fluid in the lungs which results in temporary labored breathing & low levels of oxygen in the blood. Signs of this condition are difficulty in breathing & bluish skin.
  • Anemia in the Newborn: This condition is caused by a lack of red blood cells in the blood. It is indicated by a pale skin complexion in the newborn.
  • Hemolytic Disease of the Newborn: This condition is a result of the unborn baby’s red blood cells being attacked by the mother’s antibodies. It can occur if there is a mismatch in blood types. Symptoms include jaundice, an enlarged liver or spleen, or a build-up of fluids in the newborn’s body.
  • Polycythemia in the Newborn: This condition is caused by an abnormally high amount of blood cells in a newborn’s blood. It can be from gestational or existing diabetes in the mother or when blood travels from one unborn baby to another in the case of twins. Signs of this condition include unusually dark skin, lack of appetite, lethargic behavior, and seizures.
  • Hyperthyroidism in the Newborn: This condition occurs when there is excessive thyroid hormone production. It is indicated by bulging eyes, a rapid heart rate, & slow or significantly delayed weight gain in newborns.
  • Hypothyroidism in the Newborn: This is the opposite of the condition described above. It is when there is insufficient production of the thyroid hormone in a newborn. This condition does not present any symptoms although a neonatologist is specially trained to detect the condition.
  • Cholestasis in the Newborn: This condition happens when there is insufficient bile production or flow which then leads to jaundice. It can also be triggered infections caused by bacteria, viruses, & parasites.
  • Meconium Ileus: This condition occurs when the small intestine is blocked by meconium, a sterile substance that develops an unborn baby’s intestines. Signs include vomiting, not passing their bowels, & a swollen abdomen. 
  • Meconium Plug Syndrome: This arises when the large intestine is blocked by meconium, a sterile substance that develops an unborn baby’s intestines. It is indicated by vomiting, a lack of bowel movement, & feeding issues.
  • Necrotizing Enterocolitis: This condition frequently occurs in newborns that are either premature or critically ill. It is caused when the inner surface of the intestine is damaged. Signs of this condition are an enlarged abdomen, bloody stools, vomit that is an unusual color, & general lethargy.

Neonatology Treatments

Time is always of the essence in neonatology. Premature babies & newborns have a weak immune system, which can make their body act against them. Depending on the symptoms & medical history of the mother & family, a neonatologist will conduct specialized tests & procedures to diagnose & effectively treat the newborn’s condition.

This will be followed by regular checkups to ensure the newborn is recovering well, & if not, the next course of action to ensure it’s well looked after.

Why choose Medcare Women & Children Hospital?

At Medcare, we bring exceptional care & compassion to our patients, across all our specialities. We promise to do everything we can, with a team of highly-experienced neonatal specialists & state-of-the-art technology, to make your newborn’s journey into the world a comfortable one.

  • Exceptional Level 3 facility: Medcare Women and Children Hospital takes great pride in housing a state-of-the-art Level 3 NICU (Neonatology Intensive Care Unit). This type of unit is equipped with all the resources needed to provide swift and excellent care for your newborn.
  • On site specialists: Our Level 3 NICU has Paediatric Surgeons and other Paediatric specialties available, if required. It also features a 24-hour on site staff (including neonatologists, therapists, and nurses) who have proven experience caring for extremely small or critically ill newborns.
  • Experience: We have nursed premature babies whose birth weight has been as low as 500 grams or those that were born at just 23 weeks.
  • Peace of mind: Our NICU room has 20 beds in total. Timely support is guaranteed with on-call doctors and specialists available 24/7.
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