Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, together with the affiliated physicians of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, offers newborn care with the goal of creating a healthier life for premature babies, including those born as early as 22 and 23 weeks. Babies are typically born around 40 weeks; however, babies born extremely premature need specialized, multidisciplinary care to address the oftentimes high-risk and complex clinical needs they may have. Children born this early are sometimes referred to as micro preemies.
In the Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), our multidisciplinary team composed of specialized medical professionals works together to provide the best possible care for your baby. The team follows best practices informed by the latest research when it comes to delivery room intervention, respiratory management, cardiovascular support, nutrition management, protection of the brain and limiting risk of infection. As a designated Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the Children’s Memorial Hermann NICU is equipped to treat many common conditions associated with premature babies and those born with low birth weight, including:
Treatment for these conditions and other issues are managed by our teams who are committed to comprehensive, collaborative specialty care of micro preemies.
The Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital NICU team is comprised of multidisciplinary specialists including Child Life specialists, dietitians, pharmacists and neonatal-certified physical, occupational and speech therapists.
Our collaborative care approach for premature babies is made possible through a partnership among specialized providers for newborns and more than 40 pediatric and women’s programs affiliated with UTHealth Houston, experienced in the latest advances in high-risk pregnancy and neonatal critical care services.
Many patients’ cases may be identified or diagnosed before a baby is born. In this situation, parents can be cared for at The Fetal Center at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. The Fetal Center is a national referral center and an international leader in fetal diagnosis, fetal intervention and comprehensive fetal care for infants with congenital and genetic abnormalities.
Additionally, if an extremely premature baby has a heart condition, the Children’s Heart Institute at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital offers patients advanced cardiac care. The nationally recognized Children’s Heart Institute, in collaboration with pediatric specialists at UTHealth Houston, offers innovative solutions for patients with congenital or acquired heart disease, delivering high-quality outcomes.
Through Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital’s academic partnership with UTHealth Houston, the clinical teams engage with families to support research supported by leading networks, including the international Tiny Baby Collaborative and the National Institutes of Health Neonatal Research Network and Maternal Fetal Medicine Units Network, to improve the care provided at our facility and others around the world.
The team also plays a leading role in national studies that are improving outcomes and changing international standards of care. This includes improving the care of extremely premature babies with a prenatal steroid treatment to improve survival rates, reduce complications and standardizing the care of extremely premature infants to decrease variability in treatment management.
In addition to offering leading-edge therapies, we never lose sight of the importance of compassionate and personalized care to meet the unique needs of each baby and family.
The Children’s Memorial Hermann March of Dimes NICU Family Support (NFS) Program serves to support and strengthen family involvement. Through a relationship with the March of Dimes, the NFS Coordinator provides a wide range of helpful information, resources, and comfort for parents along the continuum of their NICU journey.
Additional resources available to families include specialized lactation support for breastfeeding mothers, a palliative care team, and connections and support through the Children’s Heart Institute and The Fetal Center at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital to further assist families dealing with the complexities of a sick or extremely premature child. Our NICU managers and social workers are also integral parts of the team and serve as guides to parents throughout their child’s stay in the NICU.
Families with children in the NICU can rest and recharge in the home-away-from-home environment of the Ronald McDonald House, located within Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.
Sometimes, premature birth can be caused by conditions diagnosed in the womb, before the baby is born. In cases of infection, pregnancy-induced hypertension, premature rupture of membranes, premature labor, or cervical insufficiency, a mother may need to be admitted to the hospital for care and observation in the Women’s Center at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. The Women’s Center is a Level IV Maternal Facility, which denotes the highest level of care as designated by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). The affiliated team at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital provides comprehensive and personalized care for both mothers and babies, including pregnant and post-partum patients with some of the most complex and high-risk issues, as well as babies in need of highly specialized care—all within the same facility.
The Pediatric & Neonatal Critical Care Transport Team features a team of nurses, respiratory therapists, and physicians highly experienced in pediatric and neonatal critical care. If a baby is born prematurely, the team can travel to the patient for transportation to Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Texas Medical Center. Our transport team regularly transports pediatric and neonatal patients, including extremely premature babies, from community hospitals, clinics and emergency departments via ambulance at locations up to 300 miles away, with a helicopter up to 150 miles away, or using a plane to get to patients around the world when a higher level of care is required.
After discharge from the Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital NICU, infants may receive care from specialists focused on the needs of infants born sick or preterm through an outpatient high-risk infant program. The comprehensive follow-up care provides a vital continuum of care for the most premature patients, many of whom will need to see specialists after leaving the NICU.
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Located within the Texas Medical Center, The Fetal Center is affiliated with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, UT Physicians and Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.
The Children’s Heart Institute is a collaboration between the affiliated physicians at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston and Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. Typically, patients are seen on an outpatient basis at a UT Physicians clinic with all inpatient procedures performed at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.