If you are considering a career in neonatology, you may wonder at the kinds of conditions you would normally see in full-term babies admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Many students in their early years of medical school may assume premature babies are the only babies ending up staying weeks at a time in an NICU. However, neonatal medical professionals must care for many full term babies suffering from a myriad of diseases specific to babies. If you want to work with babies in an NICU, check out some of the conditions you may be helping to treat.
Perinatal Asphyxia Can Be Unexpected
One characteristic of the condition called perinatal asphyxia is it can happen unexpectedly because it is primarily caused by a lack of sufficient oxygen in the mother's blood. For this reason, a full term baby's cells are not able to function properly. Babies suffering with this type of asphyxiation can do so before, during and after birth. Some babies are born with a deformed or blocked airway, creating the need for tracheotomy and other, more invasive types of neonatal surgery.
Hyperbilirubinemia Can Produce Debilitating Effects
When a baby's bilirubin levels are too high, the baby can experience an acute encephalopathy that causes severe neurotoxicity. In some babies, cerebral palsy and problems in sensorimotor skills are the direct result of the neurotoxicity brought about by hyperbilirubinemia. Jaundice is common symptom of hyperbilirubinemia. Phototherapy is a common treatment for this condition.
Congenital Defects Are Common Occurrences
Many babies are born full-term with defective heart structure or brain malformations that are life threatening. Caring for babies suffering with congenital birth defects can be challenging, especially when the prognosis does not look well. Some congenital heart and brain defects require extensive surgery, many times babies don't survive through them. However, advancements in medicine and surgical technique are happening all the time, giving babies with congenital birth defects more chances than they have ever had before.
Pneumonia Can Present Before And After Birth
When a baby is born with pneumonia, his or her chances of survival can be low if it has settled in both lungs. The treatment provided by neonatal professionals is vital for babies suffering with lung issues. Constant monitoring of a baby's breathing is essential for babies suffering with pneumonia to get better and out of an NICU.
If you choose neonatology as your career, you should know it is a rewarding choice. When you work closely with a baby and he or she gets to go home with mom and dad, the feeling you will experience is unmatched by any other.
For more information, talk to an organization like Kidz Medical Services.