Neonatology is a sub-category of pediatrics that takes medical care of newborn infants, especially ill or premature newborns. It is a hospital-based specialty and is usually practiced in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). The main patients of neonatologists are newborn infants who are ill or require special medical care due to prematurity, low birth weight, intrauterine growth restriction, congenital malformations (birth defects), sepsis, pulmonary hypoplasia, or birth asphyxia.
The term neonate is used to refer to newborn babies, or more specifically to babies who are less than four weeks old. This is a very critical age in the baby’s life when events like feeding patterns are established; it’s also the time when bonding between baby and parents begins and more importantly, this is the critical period when the baby is at more risk of contracting infections that could turn serious. Birthing problems or congenital defects are also noted during this stage.
As a neonate, the baby is undergoing numerous changes as it learns to adapt to extra-uterine life and its physiological systems, including the lungs and the immune system, are far from fully developed and need extra protection from possible sources of infections.
Neonatologists are doctors who got specialization in the field of Neonatology. They generally provide the following care:
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