Birth asphyxia means your baby’s body did not get enough oxygen and blood supply to the brain or body due to a problem during pregnancy or during delivery. The lack of oxygen can cause damage to your child’s brain. This condition can cause mental and physical delays in your child.
Lowering your baby’s body temperature may lower the damage to the brain. Several studies have shown that Total Body Cooling may improve your baby's chance of surviving, and decrease the risk of having mental and physical delays.
When a baby with birth asphyxia is born at an outlying hospital, he or she may need to be transferred to the St. Vincent Women’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for a total body cooling treatment, if this advanced treatment is not available locally. Your physician can make transport arrangements by calling St. Vincent One Call for neonatal and pediatric critical care transport to St. Vincent Women’s.
Your baby’s normal body temperature is around 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit). The newborn is placed on a cooling blanket and his temperature will be slowly decreased to 33.5 degrees Celsius (92.3 degrees Fahrenheit). This will last for 72 hours (3 days). In the NICU, we will monitor your baby’s temperature very closely during the treatment. Then, your baby will be slowly warmed up to a normal body temperature. The baby’s temperature, heartbeat and blood pressure will be closely monitored. Your baby will have wires attached to the outside of his or her head to show the brain’s electrical activity. Routine blood work and other tests will be done to assess the treatment. During the treatment, the baby will not be able to feed by mouth but will receive nutrition into a vein.
Total Body Cooling is not painful, but it can be uncomfortable. For this reason, your baby will be assessed for any pain or discomfort. If your newborn continues to be uncomfortable, medicine may be given.
Yes, but not during the Total Body cooling period. We encourage you to continue pumping your milk and to freeze it, or bring it to the NICU to be stored. We will feed it to your baby as soon as possible.
After the treatment and once the family goes home, different pediatric specialists and therapists (the neonatal follow-up team, a pediatric neurologist, and an occupational therapist) will follow your baby’s progress. This team will continue to assess your child’s development and provide resources and support.
For physician-to-physician patient transfer call St. Vincent One Call, 317-338-5000.
The goal for every pregnancy is a healthy full-term delivery. However, even with good prenatal care and testing approximately 1 in 10 Indiana babies is born premature. A variety of conditions can lead to premature birth including preterm labor, infection and maternal conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes and abnormal implantation of the placenta.
A preterm birth is identified as a baby born with a gestational age of less than 37 completed weeks. Prematurity can affect the newborn’s heart and lung development, overall growth and development, and potential to thrive.
At St. Vincent Women’s, our obstetricians, NICU and Maternal Fetal Medicine team are highly experienced in the safe delivery and care for all babies born prematurely. Using advanced training and technologies along with great compassion, these experts demonstrate daily that premature babies can survive at an earlier age.
Even if you do everything right you can have preterm labor. Certain fetal conditions detected in the pregnancy or a maternal condition can implicate the need for a planned preterm delivery. Preterm labor can occur without any obvious cause. For all of these reasons, going to a hospital with a Level III or Level IV NICU provides access to maternal and fetal experts at a critical time.
St. Vincent Women’s is one of the top locations for mothers and babies. This hospital is recognized for its level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and level IV Perinatal Fetal Care Center -- the highest level of comprehensive specialty care for mother and baby, in one location. This hospital and NICU provide onsite board-certified obstetricians and neonatologists 24/7/365 days a year. Our Maternal Fetal Medicine specialists have an established network of care with OBs throughout the state. Our maternity nurses and NICU nurses provide a personalized birth experience whenever possible with many levels of family support.
The St. Vincent One Call Maternal Fetal Medicine First Response Team and Critical Care Transport Program are making a difference for families in Indiana and surrounding states. This program has a statewide reach and also supports families in surrounding states (Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois and Michigan).
St. Vincent Carmel has a Level III NICU with onsite neonatologists for babies born prematurely who do not need surgical interventions. Coordinated care is provided by the Women’s Center maternity nurse navigators and the OB/GYN practices at the Women’s Center.
Maternity services at St. Vincent are comprehensive for both mother and child. With close monitoring throughout labor and delivery and in the minutes following birth, the obstetrician and onsite neonatologists determine if a baby needs to be admitted to the NICU.
A team of neonatologists, neonatal nurse practitioners and specially trained NICU nurses and respiratory therapists are in-house 24 hours a day, ready to care for your baby. The neonatologist or neonatal nurse practitioner will update you daily on your baby’s progress and the anticipated care plan for the day.
We excel in the care of complex and critically ill newborns. To see a full list of the fetal conditions and other neonatal complications we treat, click here.
Throughout the NICU experience, the mother and family of the child are a very important part of the team. It’s very important that the baby has a maternal and fraternal connection from the very first minutes of birth. The NICU is located just a short distance from the maternity unit. Our doctors and nurses are very in tune to this important bonding period and have developed ways for the families to be connected to the infant throughout this experience.
We offer many types of NICU family support:
A full complement of pediatric subspecialists are available to help care for any complications of prematurity that may occur.
The NICU subspecialty team through Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent Indianapolis includes:
Taking a baby home from the NICU can be a difficult and frightening transition for many families. Our team of discharge specialists and social workers work with the physicians and nursing staff to ensure a successful transition to home. We aid in coordinating with community support programs including First Steps, WIC and outpatient therapies. When appropriate, an appointment is made with the Medical Genetics and Neurodevelopmental Clinic at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital to ensure your child continues to grow and thrive.
To find a physician such as a pediatrician or pediatric specialist click here.