Premature Babies at the WCH
In Australia, approximately 3000 families each year experience their baby being born before 32 weeks into the pregnancy, and requiring admission to Neonatal Intensive or Special Care nurseries.
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The Neonatal Nurseries at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital provide specialist medical and nursing care for many of South Australia's smallest and most unwell babies.
Worldwide, one in ten children will be born prematurely, as early as 3 months ahead of their due date. In Australia, approximately 3000 families each year experience their baby being born before 32 weeks into the pregnancy, and requiring admission to Neonatal Intensive or Special Care nurseries.
Some children born prematurely require ongoing support, which can be accessed across the Women's and Children's Health Network.
The Women's and Children's Hospital delivers almost a quarter of all babies born in South Australia. The nursery provides care at all levels to babies born within WCH, other hospitals in SA and interstate areas such as Mildura, Broken Hill and Alice Springs. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the hospital is unlike most others in Australia because of the broad spectrum of newborns it receives and cares for. It is the largest Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in SA providing a high acuity medical and surgical service, some of which are not available anywhere else in the state.
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is a 14 bed unit responsible for the provision of care for babies in need of intensive (Level 6) care born at the hospital, born elsewhere in South Australia, the Northern Territory, Western Victoria and the far west of New South Wales.
Special Care Baby Unit
The Special Care Baby Unit is a 35 bed unit caring for babies needing short and long term observation and specialised care born at the hospital, born elsewhere in South Australia, the Northern Territory, western Victoria and the far west of New South Wales.
Growth and Development Program
This program has been established at the hospital because of our commitment to monitoring the progress and long term outcomes of very sick term and premature babies.
Babies followed in the programme include:
- Premature babies born at less than 28 completed weeks into the pregnancy
- Babies with a birth weight of less than 1000 grams
- Newborn babies requiring therapeutic cooling in the Neonatal Nursery.
For more information about prematurity and ongoing support available, please visit the websites of the following organisations.