Neonatal Intensive Care Unit & SCBU

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit & SCBU

In the UK around 1 in 9 newborn babies spend time in a specialist neonatal unit. This may be because they have arrived too early or because they are too sick to cope on their own. Knowing what will happen if your baby needs special care can help make the experience less frightening.

What happens in a neonatal unit.

On first sight, these units can seem very scary. There is a lot of complicated equipment which is used to monitor your baby, and assist their bodily functions, such as breathing, as well as supplying her with drugs, fluids and nutrients.

Who will care for my baby in the unit?

On the neonatal unit, a skilled team from different professions will care for your baby. They can also help answer your queries on what’s going on and what to expect in this stressful time. Some of the people you may meet include:

    • Staff and specialist neonatal nurses.
    • The senior nurse in charge of the unit, called the sister or unit manager.
    • Consultant paediatrician or neonatologist, who leads your baby's care.
    • Other specialist doctors, such as surgeons.
    • Staff grade and Junior doctors
    • Physiotherapists to help with your baby's development.
    • Radiographers, who take x-rays and scans.
    • Dietitians who advise on nutrition.
    • A social worker to help you with family issues, financial worries, and support that might be needed after you take your baby home.

    Last but not least, there's you, the parents. The professionals will recognise that you know your baby best and treat you as part of the team. If you're not at the hospital, you can call the neonatal unit any time, day or night. Always ask questions or talk to the staff about any worries you may have.


    • Radiographers, who take x-rays and scans.
    • Dietitians who advise on nutrition.
    • A social worker to help you with family issues, financial worries, and support that might be needed after you take your baby home. Last but not least, there's you, the parents. The professionals will recognise that you know your baby best and treat you as part of the team. If you're not at the hospital, you can call the neonatal unit any time, day or night. Always ask questions or talk to the staff about any worries you may have.

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