Useful Information & FAQs

The following information and questions may help parents while their baby is in neonatal care. If you have any further suggestions please do not hesitate to contact us.


Transitional Care

Keeping mothers and babies together should be the cornerstone of newborn care. Neonatal Transitional Care supports mothers as primary care providers for their babies with care requirements in excess of normal newborn care, but who do not require to be in a neonatal unit.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

NICU, sometimes referred to as Tertiary/level 3 units. NICU’s care for babies born from 22 weeks gestation, babies who have a surgical need and babies who need prolonged intensive care. Here in the East of England we have 3 NICU’s; Addenbrookes, Luton & Dunstable and Norfolk & Norwich



Local Neonatal Unit (LNU)

Local Neonatal units care for babies greater than 27 weeks gestation if a singleton pregnancy and greater than 28 weeks if a multiple pregnancy. Babies cared for in an LNU can receive short term intensive care treatment requiring respiratory support on a ventilator.



Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU)

SCBU’s care for babies born from 30 weeks onwards if the baby is a singleton and from 32 weeks if a multiple pregnancy. Babies will receive minimal respiratory support, tube feeding, continuous monitoring and supportive care prior to discharge home.



Transfer before baby is born

At the early stage of pregnancy, mothers are usually booked for maternity care at their local hospital. These hospitals all have neonatal services that are able to provide immediate, emergency care for babies who are born unexpectedly premature or sick. However, not all hospitals have the right level of on-going care your baby may need; if this is the case then you may be transferred to a specialist unit before baby is born*. Your baby will then stay there until they are stable and improving. It is better for your baby to be transferred before your baby is born if at all possible. However, if this is not possible then your baby will be transferred by the specialist Paediatric & Neonatal Decision Support & Retrieval Service (PaNDR) after birth.

*Occasionally, you may not deliver after transfer. If this is the case, then you may be discharged home or transferred back to your local hospital for continued care.


Transferring to your local hospital for continuing Care

Once your baby no longer requires specialist medical, surgical or nursing care, your baby will be transferred back to a hospital closer to home ( this then helps other babies to access specialist care). This is usually your local hospital, however occasionally it may be an alternative hospital (but still close to home), if your local hospital is unable to accommodate your baby.

It is important for your baby’s care to be transferred back to your local hospital. This allows the team to get to know you and your baby, as your local hospital will be providing continuing care and follow up after your baby is discharged home.

The specialist Paediatric & Neonatal Decision Support & Retrieval Service (PaNDR), or local ambulance service, with a nurse and/or doctor, will transfer your baby back to your local hospital when your baby is ready.


What charities can be helpful with information and support?

There are many national and local charities which can provide you with support and information. Our recommendations are below, but also ask your nurse or health visitor about any local groups.

  • Bliss is the major UK charity for premature and sick babies. They provides free information, support and a helpline. Helpline: 0500 618140 (9am to 9pm) www.bliss.org.uk
  • Best Beginnings provide free information, DVDs and support for parents www.bestbeginnings.org.uk
  • Sands provide information and support for those who have lost a baby. Helpline: 0207 436 5881 www.uk-sands.org
  • Please also visit the parents & carer’s page on this website for other useful links
Who are the different members of the multi-professional care team looking after my baby?
  • Parents & Carers you are partners in care alongside the healthcare professionals looking after your baby.  All of the units in our network practice family-centred care which means that you will be supported to be involved in your baby’s care as much as possible, to  Parents & Carers being involved with their baby’s or babies’ care is shown to help their baby’s development.
  • Medical doctors (neonatologists) who specialise in care for babies, including consultants, registrars and researchers
  • Surgeons who specialise in paediatric and neonatal surgery
  • Anaesthetists who will be involved in any surgical procedures
  • Nurses ranging from the Matron in charge to sisters and staff nurses
  • Breastfeeding nurses who help with expressing breast milk, breast-feeding and management of donated breast milk
  • Occupational therapists or physiotherapists who can help with your baby’s development including movement and play
  • Play therapists, nursery nurses, community nurses, who specialise in neonatal play and development
  • Dieticians and Speech therapists, specialise in the management of your baby’s nutrition and feeding development
  • Health visitors who plan for  your discharge and support at home
  • Radiologists who may visit to take scans or x-rays of your baby
  • Outreach Team who liaise with the different healthcare professionals and agencies to provide appropriate care to the babies and families during discharge planning and supporting the family at home post-discharge.
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