Most pregnancies and deliveries go as planned, with few complications and mother and baby going home within two days. But should the unexpected happen, mother and baby may need a specialized level of care that can only be provided by an expert group of doctors and nurses.
From high-risk pregnancies to unanticipated complications to premature deliveries, Ascension Sacred Heart is always prepared for the unexpected.
Intensive Medical Care for Critically Ill and Premature Newborns
Studer Family Children's Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart offers the area’s only Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for the most critically ill and premature newborns.
Should your newborn arrive prematurely or critically ill at the Ascension Sacred Heart Maternity and Women's Center, or if complications occur during your delivery, take comfort in the fact that just moments away is one of Ascension Sacred Heart’s neonatologists – a physician specially trained to care for our smallest patients. This physician specialist can be summoned to your baby’s side immediately, day or night.
The Children's Hospital also maintains two specially equipped mobile neonatal critical care transport ambulances for the transfer of premature and critically ill newborns from other hospitals across the region to The Children’s Hospital.
The NICU is staffed 24 hours a day by full-time neonatologists (pediatricians with specialized training in the care of critically ill infants), neonatal nurses, developmental specialists and other therapists and technicians.
About the NICU
Since first opening in 1970 as an 18-bed unit, our NICU has grown to offer 39 Level III beds - where the most critically ill babies receive care - and 28 Level II beds for premature or sick infants who require a less intense level of care.
In February 2015, The Children's Hospital unveiled a $1 million expansion to the NICU. Our new, 12-bed unit was built on the third floor of the main hospital, bringing Ascension Sacred Heart to a total of 67 NICU beds. This expansion enables more critically ill and premature babies to receive specialized care from Northwest Florida's only children's hospital. All rooms in the new NICU are private, with one family per room.
More than 1,000 babies are admitted to the NICU each year, with about 80 percent born prematurely, defined as being born between two and 16 weeks early. The average stay in the NICU is around 18 days.