The neonatal intensive care unit provides critical care to newborns who are ill or premature. Many factors may lead to a newborn being admitted to the NICU, including low birth weight or complications during delivery. The NICU staff works closely with parents to develop a treatment plan for their newborn.
Neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in Virginia
We care for babies who need additional support after birth.
At HCA Virginia Health System, we provide compassionate neonatal intensive services for our smallest patients who need specialized care. Our family-centered NICUs are staffed with experienced professionals who treat a wide variety of pediatric conditions and are dedicated to your child's wellbeing.
Conditions that may require NICU care
There are several reasons why we may need to care for a baby in the NICU after they are born, such as:
- Down syndrome
- Exposure to drugs in the womb
- Labor or delivery complications
- Low birth weight
- Medical conditions (e.g., jaundice)
- Premature birth
- Respiratory conditions
- Spina bifida
- Structural heart conditions
Our neonatal intensive care services
In addition to providing the lifesaving care your baby needs, our NICUs offer special features to ensure your baby get the best start to their life.
Family-centered intensive care for newborns
Our hospitals are committed to family-centered care, which means we recognize and respect the special relationship between you and your baby. We believe you are an important member of your baby’s interdisciplinary neonatal care team. We encourage you to spend hands-on time with your baby during their stay in the NICU.
We've also designed our facilities to be safe and nurturing places for your baby and family. For example, we control lighting and noise to be considerate of your baby’s developmental needs. We also provide family lounge areas as well as resources to learn about caring for your baby.
What is premature birth?
Premature birth, also called preterm birth, occurs when a baby is born before the 37th week of pregnancy. Our NICUs provide specialized care for these babies. Specifically, our Level II NICU can care for babies who are born between 32 and 35 weeks, and our Level III NICUs can care for babies born earlier than the 32nd week of pregnancy.
What is low birth weight?
Low birth weight is defined as a baby weighing less than 5 pounds, 5 ounces at birth. Our NICUs are equipped to care for these babies as well, even if they weigh as little as 3.3 pounds.
Specialized NICU teams
Your baby's NICU care team is led by a neonatologist, a doctor with advanced training in caring for babies who are premature or have medical conditions after birth.
In addition to the neonatologist, other NICU team members include:
- Neonatal clinical nurse specialists
- Respiratory care specialists
- Physical therapists
- Case managers
- Social workers
- Lactation consultants
Some of our hospitals also have volunteers called “cuddlers.” They help hold and cuddle babies when parents have to return to work or care for other siblings.
Visiting the NICU
Some of our NICUs limit visitors during a brief shift change in the morning and evening, otherwise, parents may be by their baby's side 24/7. Please ask your local NICU what time their shift change occurs and if visitors are limited during that time.
Siblings, grandparents and other visitors are also welcome to visit your baby in the NICU. We ask that you limit visitors to two at a time at the bedside.
Ongoing pediatric care
Whether your baby's condition will need follow-up care or you are looking for a long-term partner for your child's health, we can help. We offer comprehensive pediatric care — including emergency, specialty and surgical services — for infants, children and teens.