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.
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.
Congenital anomalies of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract are among the most common surgical problems in newborn infants. Care of these complex infants is one of our core areas of expertise—over 25 percent of the patients in our NICU have some GI anomaly or surgical condition. The Infant Intestinal Intensive Care Program at Children’s combines the care of multiple specialists in a family-centered program designed to provide the highest level of intestinal intensive care to infants with surgical and/or medical GI problems. Our program extends from prenatal diagnosis and planning through the neonatal period, and transitions to long-term outpatient and inpatient follow-up.
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 are able to 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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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.
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:
- 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 at treating:
- Meconium aspiration syndrome
- Respiratory distress syndrome
- Persistent pulmonary hypertension
- Congenital diaphragmatic hernia
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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