Specialists at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital have a national reputation for the treatment of premature infants. In 2015, U.S. News & World Report ranked our neonatology care among the best in the United States and the top program in Minnesota. University of Minnesota pediatric programs have educated 80 percent of Minnesota’s pediatric physicians. Our full range of care in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, coupled with leading-edge research, results in superior outcomes for children born a little too early.
Premature babies are cared for in our NICU where they are placed in an incubator and monitored for breathing, heart rate and oxygen. Since a premature baby’s organs are not fully developed, they often need medical support for a few weeks or months. This may include a feeding tube or IV to provide nourishment until they can take food in their stomachs. Babies with breathing problems might require continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or more significant breathing help with a ventilator. If they aren’t responding to maximum medical therapy, some newborn infants might require ECMO (extra-corporal membrane oxygenation) for life-saving therapy. Sick newborn infants need this specialized special care until they can breathe on their own, take in all of their nutrition by mouth and maintain a body temperature and body weight.
Prematurity can have long-term effects, as well, including medical, developmental or behavioral problems that continue into adulthood. The smaller the baby, the greater the risk. Our medical team continues to follow a premature baby until he or she enters school to help your family maximize normal development.