Intensive Care

Intensive Care

A lack of oxygen during the birthing process can affect all of a baby’s organs; a number of supportive treatments may be needed.

Your baby’s blood pressure may be low and the doctors may give your baby medications (inotropes) to increase it. To ensure that your baby is not in any distress, pain killers and sedation may be given. Close monitoring of your baby, including regular blood tests, will ensure that the best treatment is given to your baby.

Seizures (fits) often occur in babies that have experienced HIE. Sometimes by observing your baby the medical and nursing staff can detect a seizure, other times it can be difficult to see; the doctors therefore monitor the baby’s brain activity using a machine called the ‘Cerebral Function Monitor’ (CFM) which can detect these seizures. If your baby is having seizures, they may be treated with medication. The seizures associated with HIE will usually settle after 3 or 4 days, however your baby may remain on medication for some time afterwards.

In addition to the above, your baby may need extra help breathing. Your baby may be on a ventilator that provides oxygen and pressure to the baby’s lungs through a tube that is passed through their mouth or nose. For babies that need a little help with their breathing but do not require a ventilator, a different type of ventilation called Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) may be used. CPAP helps babies breathe by air flowing through two fine tubes or mask placed in the nostrils. This slightly raises the pressure in the lungs and helps to keep the baby’s lungs inflated.

Please see the Bliss “Family Handbook” for more in depth explanations of neonatal intensive care.

Additional Equipment Your Baby May Need:

Arterial lines – tubes in an artery for taking blood samples easily and to monitor blood pressure
Intravenous (IV) lines (drips) – tubes to provide fluids and medicines directly into your baby’s veins
Umbilical Lines – tubes going into the umbilical cord to deliver fluids and medicines and to monitor blood pressure