Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Providing the highest level of neonatal care

Our 40-bed Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) provides nationally-recognized, family-centered care for critically ill newborns with complex care needs. This specialized nursery is not just for premature babies or those carried through high-risk pregnancies—even full-term babies sometimes unexpectedly need a little extra support.

Our team provides a full range of highly specialized medical and surgical services in a unit dedicated to the care of term and preterm newborns. We offer a range of therapies to care for the sickest babies, including those who:

  • Need a machine to help them breathe (require conventional and high-frequency assisted ventilation).
  • Undergo surgery, including cardiothoracic surgery.
  • Require nitric oxide therapy to help combat lung problems.
  • Are at increased risk for neurodevelopmental problems or brain injuries and require therapeutic cooling or other neuroprotective therapies.
  • Have hereditary metabolic disorders and require dialysis or further diagnostic evaluation.
  • Need highly specialized care for complex medical problems.
  • Require advanced therapies, such as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).

Our youngest babies, born under 29 weeks’ gestation, are cared for in our seven-bed Nest (small-baby unit) within the NICU. Here, our team uses specific protocols and equipment to protect them during this time when they are the most fragile.

Quick access to nationally-recognized neonatal care

For babies born at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, our NICU is just down the hall from Labor and Delivery. Our neonatologists and registered nurses are a one-button call away to provide extra support for babies who need it. This special team also attends all Cesarean section deliveries.

For babies born at other hospitals, our dedicated neonatal transport team specializes in transferring, stabilizing and supporting critically ill newborns during the journey to our hospital. Every year, nearly 300 babies born at other hospitals are brought to our NICU via ambulance or Life Flight helicopter by these transport experts.

Family-centered care and support

We consider parents core members of our NICU care team. We believe that your family’s participation on the team improves your baby’s care.

As a NICU parent, you can be as involved in your baby’s care as you want to be. Every family chooses the level of involvement that’s right for them. We invite you to:

  • Attend daily rounds in the NICU
  • Participate in the design of your baby’s care plan
  • Change diapers and take temperatures
  • Participate in parent support activities, including speaking with a parent mentor or attending educational and support meetings
  • Provide feedback to help improve the NICU for future patients and families

Getting the support and information you need. Our support team, including chaplains, social workers and interpreters, is here to help you throughout your baby’s hospital stay. Current and former NICU parents are also available to share their experiences and answer questions.