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Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU)

We provide medical and surgical care for babies after birth who need special attention. Some of the reasons include preterm birth, low birth weight, breathing difficulty, and infection.

Our services

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

BC Women's Hospital is home to the largest NICU in the province. The 70 bed unit cares for over 900 babies each year, admitted from across British Columbia and the Yukon Territory.

Families are important to us and are encouraged to participate as a team member of the team in the care of their baby while in our unit. Single family rooms have been designed to support patient and family integrated care. Our staff work in partnership with families to provide the best care possible for their baby and are dedicated to eliminating the separation of mothers, newborns and families wherever possible.

  Video: Introduction to the NICU at BC Women's

  Video: NICU single patient family rooms

MotherBaby Care

We offer women and their families a unique experience with the MotherBaby Care unit. If a mother is delivering at BC Women's, the MotherBaby Care unit allows the mother to stay with her baby if admitted to the Intermediate Nursery. The mother receives postpartum care in the same room as the baby receives specialized health care. Mother and baby are cared for by the same nurse.

In the NICU
We look forward to working with you and your family. You are encouraged to spend as much time with your baby as you wish any time day or night; you can phone at any time and as often as you need, especially if you are worried about your baby. Your bedside nurse is always available for your questions. Parents are essential caregivers, not visitors.

From the start, make it your goal to form a working relationship with the healthcare team; help us keep in touch with you. It is important that we know  where you can be reached. Please make sure your contact number is up to date.

Participate in morning rounds. As a partner in your baby's care, you are welcome to participate in morning rounds at your baby's bedside. Rounds are when the medical staff come to the bedside to check on your baby's progress. Please ask the nurse or doctor to explain if you have any concerns about your baby's care. Feel free to write down your questions and the doctor's or nurse's answers. 

Safety in the NICU

Before entering the NICU, let staff know if you have signs of a cold, flu, or an infectious illness.

Clean your hands. Take off all rings, watches and jewelry before coming into the NICU. Clean your hands up to your elbows with soap and warm water or use alcohol foam hand rubs found at each bedside

Your baby's identification bracelet.  Your baby should have it on at all times. If it is missing, please ask the nurse to get a new one. You may hear your nurse call this a posey.

Keep your baby safe. Ask staff for help when moving your baby from the cot, crib or overhead warmer. Always stay with your baby during weighing or bathing. Keep the side rails up and latched or incubator doors closed when not engaged with your baby.

Alarms and monitors. Allow the alarm on your baby's medical equipment to beep. This helps staff know to check your baby.

Safe sleep practices. Ask your baby's nurse about "safe sleep" practices that apply to your baby's developmental age.

Parent resources



Oral Immune therapy (OIT)

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Expressing milk for a preterm or ill baby

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Many babies can successfully breastfeed. Ask your nurse how you can start hand expressing in the first 6 hours or as soon as possible.

More videos are avaliable in the BC Women's Hospital YouTube Channel.

Kangaroo Care

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This is the practice of holding of a preterm or low-birth weight infant skin-to-skin against a parent's bare chest.

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