Why are babies placed in the NICU?

Q: How does a baby end up in the NICU?

A: Most of us think the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is for preemies only, but newborn babies with all kinds of health problems are cared for there. Full-term newborns who've had surgery, suffer from an infection from their mother, had low Apgar scores, or went through a rough delivery are also NICU babies. If your doctor knows you're a candidate for a high-risk birth, he may have a team from the NICU present at your delivery to administer emergency care and take your baby there immediately.

Originally published in American Baby magazine, November 2006. Updated 2009