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NICU Support

Glossary of NICU Terms
by Jennifer Thompson
Apnea of Prematurity
Cessation of breathing. Premature babies will often "forget" to breathe until they grow out of their prematurity.

Bilirubin
A pigment produced when the liver processes waste products. A high bilirubin level causes yellowing of the skin. A baby with jaundice has a high bilirubin count.

Bradycardia
A slowness of the heart beat.

CC's
Cubic centimeters. 30 cc's = 1 fluid ounce.

CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure)
Reminds baby to breathe by forcing air in the nose.

Fortifier
An additive that boosts the calories per ounce of breast milk, given to babies to help them gain weight.

Gavage Feeding
A tube is placed wither through the baby's nose or in its mouth, down its throat to its tummy. Milk or formula can then be given to the baby through the tube.

Intubate
To put a tube in.

Isolette
Enclosed beds for the babies that are temperature controlled for babies who cannot maintain or regulate their own temperatures.

Kangaroo Care
Holding a baby against one's chest, so there is skin-to-skin contact.

Nasal Canula
A tube placed at the baby's nostrils that allows oxygen to flow to the baby, without the pressure of a CPAP.

Open Bed
Small bassinettes and are used for babies who do not need the temperature-controlled environment of an isolette.

Residual
When a baby is gavage fed, the nurses or doctors may use a syringe to see if any undigested milk remains in the baby's stomach

Rounds
The time when the doctor(s) check on all of the babies. Visitors are normally not allowed in the NICU during rounds.

Swaddle
To wrap up a baby snuggly in a blanket to keep the baby warm.

Umbilical Line
An IV line that goes in through the baby's umbilical stump.

Vent
Short for ventilator, a machine that helps a baby breathe.

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