What is a neonatologist?

A neonatologist is specially trained to care for the most complex situations for newborns, coordinating care and monitoring babies in high-risk situations.

A neonatologist is a specially-trained pediatrician who cares for preterm babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 10 babies in the U.S. are born prematurely. Premature births, also called preterm births, happen when a baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy.

What does a neonatologist do?

A neonatologist is specially trained to care for the most complex and high-risk situations for newborns. These doctors coordinate care and monitor newborns born prematurely as well as newborns with congenital conditions that may or may not require surgery.

A neonatologist may be present at a child’s delivery and provide care immediately after birth. If a condition or issue is known before a before a baby is born, a neonatologist may consult with your OB/GYN and maternal-fetal medicine physician during your pregnancy.

Neonatologists generally:

  • Care for newborns at delivery due to issues or conditions in the mother or child that may require intervention in the delivery room.
  • Coordinate with OB/GYNs, maternal-fetal medicine physicians and pediatricians about the care of newborns.
  • Monitor critically ill newborns to make sure they receive the correct nutrition to grow and recover.
  • Manage newborns experiencing life-threatening conditions.

Neonatologists primarily work in the NICU. In some cases, a neonatologist may provide short-term follow-up care after a child leaves the NICU. Neonatologists also can help coordinate care with a newborn’s pediatrician.

Neonatology at Norton Children’s

Norton Children’s provides comprehensive, highly skilled care that your newborn may need. Norton Children’s Hospital has one of the largest Level IV neonatal intensive care units in the U.S. and one of the first neonatal extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) centers in the country. Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital has a Level III NICU.

With a proven team of accomplished neonatologists and specialists, our two Norton Children’s NICUs are dedicated to caring for babies born prematurely or in need of advanced care or surgery. Our NICUs have neonatologists on-site 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide care.

A Level IV NICU provides the highest level of care possible for newborns — highly trained doctors, nurses and staff are available, as well as specialized physicians, equipment and tools to care for babies born prematurely or with special medical needs.

Norton Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Units

Our Level III NICU at Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital and our top-ranked Level IV NICU at Norton Children’s Hospital are dedicated to caring for babies born prematurely or in need of advanced care or surgery.

Learn more

An expert team at each of our NICU nurseries includes:

  • Neonatologists and specially trained nurse practitioners
  • Registered nurses
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Speech, occupational and physical therapists
  • Pharmacists
  • Clinical laboratory technicians
  • Neonatal nutritionists
  • Lactation consultants
  • Developmental specialists
  • Transport specialists
  • Physician assistants