What happens if my baby is born sick or premature?

What happens if my baby is born sick or premature?

Having a sick or preterm baby is often unexpected and will be a worrying and unsettling experience for you as parents. If your baby is born sick or premature they will need to be cared for in a Neonatal Unit. If your local hospital does not have the level of neonatal care that your baby needs, your baby may have to stay in a different hospital in the South West until they are stronger. These units are shown on the map below. 


 Where Will My Baby Be Cared For



You may also need to be transferred if your local unit is full, although we will try as far as possible to ensure that this doesn’t happen. You will be transferred either before your baby is born, or your baby will be transferred by a specialist team after they are born.

We have two specialise transport teams in the South West;

Further information on our levels of units and what that means is outlined below;


SCU - Special Care Unit

These units provide high dependency services and in addition they provide a stabilisation facility for babies who are to be transferred and for babies received from other units for continuing special care.

LNU - Local Neonatal Units

These units provide neonatal care for babies in their area except for the sickest babies.  They provide all categories of neonatal care but will transfer babies who require complex or long term intensive care to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit as they are not staffed to provide long term intensive care.  Local units may receive babies from other neonatal services in the Network if they fall within their agreed work pattern.

NICU - Neonatal Intensive Care Units

The units are sited alongside specialist obstetric and feto-maternal medicine services to provide a wide range of medical neonatal care.  This includes additional care for babies and their families referred from the Network.  Many units also provide neonatal surgery services and other more specialised treatment.  Within a Network at least one hospital will have a neonatal intensive care unit which provides a specialist centre of expertise and experience for the sickest babies.


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