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Neonatology

Neonatal Medicine at Children’s Hospital combines specialized programs and services to offer the highest level of care for newborns. 24/7 care is provided by experienced neonatologists, perinatologists, and subspecialty-trained neonatal nurses, respiratory therapists, and nutritionists. As a multispecialty hospital, neonatal teams work closely with our pediatric surgeons, cardiac intensivists, cardiac and neurosurgeons, neurologists, pulmonologists, nephrologists, geneticists, gastroenterologists, and endocrinologists. Our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is the referral choice for hospitals all over Northern California because our specialists have the region's most experience dealing with complex neonatal conditions.

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Comprehensive Neonatal Programs & Services


Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Children’s is a 44-bed, family-centered regional referral center, and is staffed by board-certified attending neonatologists 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our regional Level IV NICU — the only Level IV NICU in the East Bay — provides comprehensive care for infants presenting with a wide range of neonatal conditions and disorders, including:

  • Congenital heart disease
  • Lung and airway abnormalities
  • Neurologic disorders
  • A wide range of surgical conditions
  • Congenital anomalies
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Complex ENT conditions

Our active clinical research program is dedicated to advancing care in the areas of neonatal respiratory, neurologic, gastrointestinal, nutritional, and skin problems.

Fetal Medicine Program

When a birth defect or genetic disorder is detected, pregnancy care takes a different path than expected. Our fetal and neonatal subspecialists coordinate prenatal diagnosis and treatments with your obstetrician to provide seamless care for the mother and her unborn child throughout a high-risk pregnancy. Personalized care includes access to board certified subspecialists to address a full spectrum of complex maternal and fetal medical, surgical, genetic, metabolic, and developmental abnormalities. We coordinate care for the mother and her unborn child throughout a high-risk pregnancy, provide social and psychological support services, and provide a continuum of newborn and pediatric health services.

Neonatal Developmental Care

The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) team at Children’s recognizes that addressing the emotional and psychological needs of infants and their families is an important part of ensuring health and well-being. Because the NICU is an advanced, high-tech, medically intense environment, developmental specialists work with physicians, nurses, and other care providers to reduce the stress of illness or prematurity on each infant in our care. Our developmental specialists help parents understand their premature or ill baby’s signals and cues, provide breastfeeding support, and teach parents how to hold and touch their medically fragile infant.

Gentle Hands Program

The Gentle Hands Program teaches parents how to touch, hold, massage, and bathe their baby—using their infant’s signs of readiness as a guide. Children's Hospital Oakland's child development specialists help parents gain confidence caring for their infant by encouraging bonding moments. Research shows us that medically-challenged infants who receive touch may feed better, sleep more, have greater weight gain, and go home faster. More >

Breast Feeding Support

One of our ongoing quality improvement programs is to establish, promote, and maintain breast feeding for mothers of infants who may be hospitalized for weeks or months before being discharged home.

Cardiovascular Care Program

One of our core areas of expertise is pre- and post-operative care for neonates undergoing complete or palliative repair of complex heart disease. With one of the largest fetal echocardiography programs in Northern California, our neonatologists, cardiologists, and world-renowned pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons can evaluate, diagnose, and begin a plan of care well in advance of the baby’s delivery when a congenital heart condition is suspected.

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Neurologic & Neurosurgical Care Program

The members of the neonatal neurology and neurosurgery team at Children’s Hospital evaluate, diagnose, and treat newborns when neurologic congenital anomalies. The program offers prenatal diagnosis and planning, continuous care through pregnancy, as well as medically advanced care after the birth of the baby. Neurodiagnostic studies include continuous video EEG monitoring and amplitude-integrated EEG monitoring, portable CT scanning, and neonatal MRI imaging protocols. Areas of expertise include:

  • Therapeutic hypothermia (whole body cooling) for hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
  • Brain injury
  • Neonatal seizures & epilepsy
  • Perinatal strokes
  • Tethered spinal cord
  • Brain tumors

Subspecialty trained pediatric epileptologists experienced in clinical child neurology provide comprehensive evaluations for children with seizures.

Pulmonary Care Program

We are leaders in the management of respiratory failure in neonates, including the use of high-frequency ventilation, nitric oxide, and noninvasive respiratory support. Our multi-disciplinary team of neonatologists, pulmonologists, and ENT surgeons is experienced with managing the full range of airway anomalies or acquired problems, including:

  • Micrognathia
  • Tracheal- and broncho-malacia
  • Vocal cord problems
  • Choanal stenosis

We provide life-saving therapy for infants with severe lung or heart conditions who don’t respond to traditional respiratory support therapies. We pioneered studies in extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and are specialists in treating:

  • Meconium aspiration syndrome
  • Sepsis
  • Respiratory distress syndrome
  • Persistent pulmonary hypertension
  • Pneumonia
  • Congenital diaphragmatic hernia

Neonatal Follow-up Program

Some infants requiring intensive care as newborns may be at risk for developmental and neurological problems as they get older. The Neonatal Follow-Up Program at Children’s provides services for medically high-risk infants discharged from our NICU, as wells as many other Bay Area neonatal intensive care units. The program’s multidisciplinary team provides health and developmental assessment, monitoring and intervention, as well as parent education and support.

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Additional Information