Prematures babies and Neonatal units

Neonatal and High Dependency care

Pinderfields Hospital provides a specialist centre for Neonatal Intensive and High Dependency care, where expert staff care for very premature or ill newborn babies across North Kirklees and the Wakefield district. The unit is currently located on Level C, gate 19.

Dewsbury and District Hospital has a special care baby Unit with 14 cots to care for premature or sick babies from Dewsbury and the surrounding district. Only the most complicated births or most seriously ill babies will need to be cared for at Pinderfields.

These specialist centres are the best way to ensure that the smallest and sickest babies get the best possible care. The increased capacity in our units will help to ensure that more babies can be treated in mid Yorkshire area and therefore be closer to home.

Neonatal care in hospital

Sometimes babies will need extra care in hospital, this can be on a postnatal ward or on the specialist ward (Neonatal unit). This for you as parents can be a very worrying time, it is essential you receive all the support and information you need to help you through this time.

Why do babies need special care

There are a number of reasons why some babies sometimes need extra care;
  • Being born early (premature)
  • Infection
  • Born small/low birth weight
  • Jaundice
  • Waiting or recovering from surgery

Holding your baby

At first this may be a difficult time for you as your baby may be in an incubator or on a breathing machine. They may also have have tubes and wires attached to his/her face to help with feeding, breathing. If you have ever have any questions about what is happening to your baby or the equipment they are on ask a member of the staff to explain.

When your baby is well enough the staff will show you how to hold your them, this will benefit the baby and you 


You may be asked to express some breastmilk so this can be given to your baby. Your baby will benefit from having your milk as it is full of minerals and fats that are beneficial to your babies development.

If your baby is not able to have your milk it can be frozen, so you have a supply when your baby is ready for it.


Babies who are very small may need to be in an incubator, this is to keep them warm and this can not be done in an ordinary cot.
Parents can still have a lot of contact with their babies in an incubator as some have tops that can be opened or others have holes in the sides where parents can touch or stroke their babies through.

When your baby is well enough the nurse will show you how to pick your baby up and hold them so you are able to have skin to skin contact if you wish to, which will help with the bonding process between you and your baby.


Jaundice in newborn babies is very common due to their livers being immature. Babies who are suffering with acute jaundice usually have a treatment called phototherapy where the babies are undressed and placed under a very bright red light, their eyes are protected with a mask while they are under the lights. 

Sometimes it is possible for babies to have the phototherapy in the cot next to the mothers so they do not have to be separated.

The treatment may be given for several days with breaks for changing and feeding, for most cases the jaundice clears up. In some cases the jaundice gets worse before it starts to gets better and the baby may require a blood transfusion.  This is where some of your baby's blood will be removed and blood from a blood donor put in to your baby.

Most babies are jaundiced for up to two weeks and it is common for jaundice to last for up to three weeks in premature babies.  It is common for this to also happen to babies who are breastfed and is usually normal and causes no harm. You do not need to stop breastfeeding.

It is important if your baby is still jaundiced after two weeks that you do make an appointment within a couple of days. If your baby's poo (stool) is chalky white it is very important you see your GP urgently. A blood test will confirm if urgent medical treatment is needed.

Visit the premature baby charity website for lots of information and support.


Find out what pregnancy and early years events are being held.


Share your thoughts, stories and advice on our new community forum.


A comprehsive list of available online resources to help you through your pregnancy.

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