Neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in Virginia
HCA Virginia's hospitals have NICUs where we care for babies who need additional support after birth. These units are equipped with advanced technology and staffed by highly trained neonatal specialists who are dedicated to your baby’s healthcare.
For more information about our primary care services or for help finding a doctor, call our free, 24/7 Consult-A-Nurse line.
Why a baby needs to stay in the NICU
There are several reasons why we may need to care for a baby in the NICU after they are born, such as:
- Birth abnormalities, including spina bifida, Down syndrome and structural heart conditions
- Complications during labor and delivery, including breech birth, meconium in the lungs or lack of oxygen, that lead to other issues after a baby is delivered
- Exposure to opioids, other drugs or alcohol in the womb
- Infections, such as group B streptococcus or chlamydia
- Low birth weight
- Medical conditions, such as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures and jaundice
- Respiratory conditions, including rapid breathing and apnea (pauses during breathing)
What is premature birth?
Premature birth, also called preterm birth, occurs when a baby is born before the 37th week of pregnancy. Our NICUs care for all these special babies. Specifically, our Level II NICU can care for babies who are born a little early, 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 neonatal care teams
Your baby's NICU care team will be 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.
Family-centered intensive care for newborns
We 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. That is why 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.
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 typically 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, HCA Virginia can help. We offer comprehensive pediatric care—including emergency, specialty and surgical services—for infants, children and teens.