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Neonatology is a branch of medicine dealing with the care of newborns, especially those who are premature or critically ill. Babies who are born too early—before 37 weeks of pregnancy—are prone to various short- and long-term health conditions because their bodies are not yet ready for life outside the womb. Many factors related to the mother’s health and the progress of the pregnancy can contribute to premature labor. Twins and other multiples are more likely than single-birth infants to be born prematurely.

Due to their immature immune systems, some premature infants develop infections such as pneumonia, sepsis and meningitis. Other problems that our neonatologists often evaluate include:

  • Anemia, in which the newborn has too few red blood cells.
  • Apnea, in which babies stop breathing for 20 seconds or more.
  • Intraventricular hemorrhage, in which there is bleeding in the brain.
  • Patent ductus arteriosus, in which abnormal blood flow occurs between two major arteries connected to the heart.
  • Respiratory distress syndrome, in which newborns’ lack of a substance called surfactant in the lungs that makes breathing difficult.
  • Retinopathy of prematurity, in which blood vessels in the infant’s eye grow abnormally.

Advances in medical technology in recent years have greatly increased survival rates even for babies born very early. Neonatologists care for premature and full-term babies with numerous other conditions and typically work in a hospital neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). At Indiana University Health, our neonatologists collaborate with other pediatric subspecialist physicians, highly trained nurses, respiratory therapists and social workers to provide comprehensive care for the sickest and most fragile babies.

Based at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, our neonatology team relies on a combination of expert clinical skill and sophisticated technology to provide advanced care for the most vulnerable newborns. Our 60-bed Level IV NICU is the only comprehensive NICU in Indiana and one of the largest in the Midwest, serving families from throughout the state and from other regions. Approximately 70 percent of the 700 critically ill newborns that we admit to the NICU each year are transferred from outlying hospitals.

Our services are highly ranked on the annual U.S.News & World Report list of Best Children’s Hospitals. Our neonatologists, nurses, respiratory therapists, social workers and other subspecialist physicians are available around the clock to care for your child. Additionally, because of our affiliation with the Indiana University School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics, our physicians are active not only in providing advanced care but also in conducting neonatology research and in training future neonatology specialists.

For many families, care of complex problems starts well before delivery, at the Riley Hospital for Children Perinatal-Fetal Center at IU Health. Our center’s team of obstetric, pediatric and adult medical and surgical subspecialists diagnose and treat a wide range of fetal and maternal medical conditions.

How We Can Help

How We Can Help

Neonatology Treatment Information

The neonatologists of IU Health work with your family to determine the right care for your newborn. Our team coordinates with other subspecialty pediatric physicians to arrange comprehensive care during and after your child’s time in the hospital.

Our NICU services include:

Neonatology Locations & Physicians

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Find a Specialist

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Neonatology Support Services

Several national organizations provide families with information and resources on care for premature and critically ill newborns.