If your baby is or expects to be in the NICU, click here to read about issues that may be affecting your baby.
Sometimes, even the most advanced prenatal care can’t prevent complications in pregnancy. Having a baby doesn’t always go according to plan. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center is here to provide you with peace of mind should your baby need immediate medical care following her entrance into this world.
Located just down the hall from our Birth Center, the Sierra Vista NICU has provided advanced critical care to the Central Coast’s tiniest and most fragile babies for more than 15 years.
Recently expanded in 2009 to better meet the needs of our growing San Luis Obispo Community, our twenty-two licensed bed facility is the only Level III NICU in San Luis Obispo County. This means that Sierra Vista has the capability and resources to care for newborn infants with extreme prematurity (twenty-three or more weeks gestation) or who are critically ill. Very rarely do babies need to be transferred out of the area for care.
Three board-certified neonatologists are on-staff to provide around-the-clock care to the newborns in the NICU. These physicians, along with a team of highly specialized nurses, respiratory therapists, physical and occupational therapists, lactation specialists, nutritionists and social workers, provide comprehensive care on par with large academic centers throughout the country.
Our relationship with Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, Children’s Hospital of Central California and our association with Pediatrix Medical Group gives us a great deal of exposure to emerging practices and trends, which affords us early insight into promising therapies and techniques. Some more recent examples include increasing Kangaroo Care in the NICU. This skin-to-skin contact not only nurtures the bond between baby and parent, but has also been shown to improve growth and neurodevelopmental outcomes. The use of breast milk, while avoiding formula, is also encouraged in the NICU. Even though most preemies are too small or weak to latch on to their mother’s breast in the days or weeks immediately following their birth, pumped breast milk is still given until their sucking reflexes are more fully developed. Lactation specialists are available to help new mothers achieve success with their milk production.
Having a newborn in the NICU can be stressful to say the least, but the Sierra Vista team of specialists works closely with the parents and families of each newborn, providing support and encouragement on a daily basis. Parents are encouraged to participate in the care of their newborn and are taught how to interact and respond to their basic needs in a mutually beneficial and non-threatening way. With the exception of rare times, parents are invited to stay with their babies anytime of day.
Of the more than 1200 births each year at Sierra Vista, nearly 15-percent receive care in the NICU.