Neonatology is a subspecialty of Paediatrics that focuses on the medical care of newborn infants, particularly those who are ill or born prematurely. Neonatologists are paediatricians who have completed additional training in neonatology. They work in hospital-based Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) and provide specialised care to critically ill or premature newborns.
These newborn babies with conditions are treated by a Neonatologist, who is a Paediatrician with completed subspeciality training in Neonatology.
The Obstetrician, Paediatrician or doctor will usually refer expecting mothers or mothers with babies for these problems:
- High risk mothers for prenatal counseling.
- Mothers with ill, unwell or premature newborns.
- Mothers with jaundice babies.
- Mothers with babies facing feeding difficulties and poor weight gain.
- Mothers with slow developmental babies.
- Mother with babies for immunisation.
- Antenatal consultation (consultation during pregnancy) for women with certain risk factors, such as multiple births.
- Care/intensive care for unwell or premature newborns.
- Care co-ordination and planning for critically ill or premature newborns including Kangaroo Mother Care method.
- Neonatal nutrition especially breastfeeding.
- Assessment of babies in hospital postnatal wards.
- Follow-up clinics after birth (eg. premature babies).
- Immunisation and developmental follow-up.
- Antenatal and bereavement counselling.
Typically, ill or preterm newborns placed in NICU will require long line procedures done to them for fluids and medication. Exchange Transfusion will be done to babies with severe neonatal jaundice.
Surgical procedures are only offered when the newborn has certain surgical abnormalities such as Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernias, Gastrointestinal Obstruction, Patent Ductus Arteriosus. These conditions requiring surgery are usually performed by a Paediatric Surgeon.