A baby that is born at a pregnancy term of less than 37 weeks is premature. A baby born at a pregnancy term of 32 weeks or less is considered severely premature. A baby whose birth weight is too low for the pregnancy term in number of weeks, is referred to as dysmature.

Your baby is connected to a monitor by means of wires and adhesive patches. Your baby’s breathing, heart rate, blood oxygen levels (saturation), temperature and blood pressure can be read from the screen that is located above the incubator.

Apnea is a condition in which the breathing stops for a short period of time. This often occurs in babies born prematurely due to the fact that the part of the brain that controls breathing is not yet mature enough for nonstop breathing.

Bradycardia is a slowed heart rate. This may occur in combination with the apnea.

Feeding tube
A feeding tube is a tube that passes through the mouth or the nose, and that goes to the stomach via the oesophagus. This allows those babies who cannot yet drink on their own, to be fed.

Intravenous drip (IV)
Many of the babies in neonatology are unable to absorb sufficiënt nutrients via their stomach and their intestines. They are therefore fitted with an IV, a small plastic tube that is inserted in a vein and which allows extra fluids and/or nutrients to be administered. It is also possible for medication to be administered via the IV.

Umbilical line
This long intravenous line is inserted sterile into the umbilical cord. This is often done very shortly after birth. A long intravenous line can also be inserted in an arm or leg.

Arterial line
The arterial line is inserted into an artery. In most cases, this will be the artery that runs through the wrist. This can be on either the right or the left hand side, the doctor will decide which is most suitable. This line can be used for measuring blood pressure which can then be read off the monitor. It can also be used for drawing blood. This means that your baby will not have to have other needles inserted for the purpose of drawing blood.

The respirator can be used to support the baby’s breathing or to take over this function completely. Another way of providing artificial respiration is by high frequency oscillatory respiration, the HFO. This is used in specific situations.

CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure)
This device supports breathing by blowing air and if necessary, extra oxygen into the lungs. This is done via a small mask with two short nasal prongs that are inserted into the baby’s nose.

Low or High-Flow
Extra air and/or oxygen can be administered to a baby that no longer needs CPAP via short nasal prongs, or a ‘moustache’.