We understand the challenges that come with having a baby in the NICU, and we're here for each and every one of them.
The Woman's Hospital of Texas offers the experienced care and advanced technology your baby needs, as well as the emotional support and education you need to care for your infant. We invite you to ask questions. We encourage you to visit as often as possible – to hold, touch, talk to, and care for your baby as his or her condition allows.
Our NICU Environment
Medications, tests, and monitors, which create a busy atmosphere, are necessary in the NICU. Your nurses can explain the purpose of the monitors, tubes, tests, and machines, which will help you understand the NICU and its crucial role in your baby's health.
We strive to reduce the noise resulting from the activity, beeping monitors, and crying babies to ensure that your baby receives as much rest as possible. To achieve this, sound monitors in advanced NICU alert staff if the noise level is too high. Additionally, we work to cluster your baby’s care. For instance, if we need to check vital signs at 9:00am, we will also change his or her diaper and perform other tasks simultaneously.
Level 2 NICU Stay
Babies who are born close to or before their due date, and those who have medical conditions requiring less-intensive monitoring, stay in our special care nursery. Our 82 beds here include radiant warmers, incubators, and open cribs. Heart and respiratory rate, blood pressure, and temperature are monitored less frequently, and nutrition may be given by I.V., tube feeding, bottle-feeding, or breastfeeding. Babies may go home from this nursery or may be transferred to our newborn nursery if their mother is still hospitalized.
Level 4 NICU Stay
Sick or premature babies are often admitted to the advanced nursery, where they are kept in one of our 64 flat, open beds with a warmer overhead, or incubators that provide heat to keep them warm. Most babies in the advanced NICU need help with their breathing. If this is the case, they will be connected to a ventilator or receive oxygen via other methods.
Our NICU includes lactation rooms and a milk bank. Your baby can be fed with your pumped breast milk or special formula through a feeding tube. Breast pumps are available for use in the hospital by those mothers whose babies are in our NICU, or for some other reason cannot breastfeed directly. Heart and respiratory rate, blood pressure, temperature, and oxygen levels are continuously monitored by machines, so our team can adjust your baby’s care quickly when needed. Babies are transferred to the intermediate NICU when their condition improves, and they no longer need intensive monitoring.
NICU Visitation Policy
The NICU is open to parents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Parents and grandparents are encouraged to visit as often as possible. The NICU team will review our visitation policies with you upon admission to the unit.
Upon arriving to visit your infant(s), you will be asked to show your hospital identification bracelet(s) to the nursing staff. Parents, grandparents and other visitors will need to have a visitor’s name badge and an official picture ID (example-driver’s license, or state issued ID, etc.) available to show staff if bracelets are not available. Parents will need their infant’s matching ID bracelet for discharge.
- We may limit visitors during flu season.
- All visitors may be asked to temporarily leave the unit during emergency situations or when special procedures are being performed.
Sick or premature babies cannot fight germs as well as healthy, full-term babies and are more likely to develop infections. For this reason, everyone must wash their hands and arms for 3-minutes before entering the NICU.
Siblings must be over the age of three years old to visit the NICU and must be supervised at all times. The NICU team will review our sibling visitation policies and guidelines with you upon admission.
Prior to a sibling visiting the NICU, please complete the NICU Sibling Health Questionnaire and return it to your NICU nurse. This questionnaire will need to be completed for each sibling entering the NICU prior to each visit.
For the safety of all patients, siblings cannot visit if they have a temperature over 100.4°F, if they are sick, have a rash or if they have been exposed to any communicable diseases, such as chicken pox, whooping cough, measles, etc. You may request to have a child life specialist visit with your children before they enter the NICU, so they will have a better understanding of what they will see. To contact Child Life Services, please call (713) 791-7165.
The sibling visitation policy allows up to three siblings and one adult for a total of four people at the bedside during the visit. Sibling visitations are limited to 30 minutes per day.
Sibling visitation times are as follows:
- Monday through Friday from 4:00pm to 6:30pm
- Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5:00pm
Parents may call the NICU any time to ask about their baby. However, we ask that you avoid calling during shift change (6:45 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. and 6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.) when possible. When you call, ask for the nurse caring for your baby, and use the last name of the baby's mother. You will be asked for the security code which was given to you upon admission to the unit. To protect the privacy and confidentiality of our families, we only give information when the correct code is provided. Before sharing your code, please consider carefully who should have access to your baby’s medical information.
|Advanced NICU||3rd Floor East||(713) 791-7366|
|Advanced NICU||4th Floor West||(713) 363-6428|
|Intermediate NICU||4th Floor East||(713) 791-7411|
|Intermediate NICU||4th Floor West||(713) 791-7331|
NICU Support and Resources
The Woman's Hospital of Texas provides an extensive education department. The NICU enriches the hospital's curriculum with programs designed specifically for the families of NICU babies. With each class and support group, your confidence will increase, and caring for your baby will become more comfortable.
The Woman’s Hospital of Texas proudly partners with the March of Dimes to provide the NICU Family Support program. We are the only hospital in Houston that has two full-time March of Dimes NICU family support program coordinators on site. The program offers information and comfort to families during the NICU hospitalization of their newborn, during the transition home, and in the event of a newborn death. It also provides professional education for NICU staff; and promotes neonatal family centered care in NICUs.
Parents are encouraged to attend the weekly NICU parent group. Our NICU physicians, nurses, therapists, and other professionals attend and address topics such as NICU equipment, how to understand lab results, infection control, and strategies to care for your baby in the NICU and at home. The group offers an opportunity to learn and share with other parents.