Planning for NICU Care

The March of Dimes estimates that about 1 in 10 babies will require neonatal intensive care, which means unexpected complications can arise in even the most “normal” pregnancies. That’s why the specialists at Texas Children’s Newborn Center recommend that all expectant parents create a B.U.M.P., or baby urgent medical plan, so you’ll know where to turn if your baby requires NICU care.

Create your B.U.M.P.

First, learn about the different levels of neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) and what each level means.

NICUs are defined as Level 1, 2, 3 or 4 by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Each level is staffed and equipped to care for different levels of medical needs newborns may require. The highest-level NICU, Level 4, guarantees a complete array of full-time pediatric specialists, including surgeons and anesthesiologists, and sophisticated technology are available to care for your baby’s complex medical needs. Texas Children’s is a Level 4 NICU and offers the highest level of neonatal care available in the Houston area.

If your baby needs a higher level of medical care, you have the right to ask that your baby be transferred to the NICU of your choice. It’s good to research the options available in your area – so you’ll be prepared, just in case you need it.

As part of your B.U.M.P., include the addresses and phone numbers for the highest-level NICUs in your area along with your preference of facilities. Remember, even with the most “normal” pregnancy, unexpected complications can arise. Having a B.U.M.P. can provide peace of mind for you and your family.

Complications before birth

If a birth defect or other issue is found during your pregnancy, talk to your doctor about delivery at a center that specializes in high-risk deliveries. Studies have shown that delivering at a high-risk center, such as Texas Children's Pavilion for Women, improves the chances of a good outcome for babies with complications.