baby incubator for premature babies
baby incubator is a healthcare aiding machine used in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) that provides additional care to preterm neonates. in fact premature babies don’t have well-developed organs and fatty skin due to their preterm birth before the completion of the gestation period. Sensory organs of babies like eyes, ears are more sensitive to the external environment compared to babies born after 37 weeks of gestation period. Moreover, the lungs of such a premature baby are not fully developed yet and in case of infection, filled with mucus. The NICU unit in every hospital is responsible for taking care of such babies and equipped with all health care accessories. The most important of them is a baby incubator to provide babies a suitable environment essential for their earlier neonatal growth.
An incubator is a self-contained unit about the size of a baby’s cradle usually made of either glass or clear plastic. An incubator is usually equipped with the following equipment.
ECG, Oximeter, thermometer, and other monitoring equipment to monitor baby’s vital functions.
Special UV phototherapy lamps arrangement for Jaundice babies which provides heat, enrich skin with vitamin D and increase fat production below the skin.
Heated humidified high-flow nasal cannula (HHHFNC).
Positive pressure Ventilator for lungs infatuation in case of breathing issues.
IV lines to provide medicine.
All these equipment functions are responsible for the provision of a controlled environment to premature babies during their neonatal growth. Preterm babies can’t able to protect themselves in case of different pathogens, germs, pollutants, and allergens exposure. Baby incubators also prevent any exposure of baby with outer surrounding and sustain internal environment so baby can make up their deficiencies during early stages of life.
Most common medical conditions in preterm babies that require usage of baby incubator are discussed in the following;
Preterm babies are born before the 37 weeks of the gestation period and don’t get enough time as compared to normal babies. They have weak vital organs, light-sensitive eyes, and fragile eardrums. That’s why doctors put such babies in a baby incubator for the maturation of their organs to ensure their survival.
Due to the early birth of preterm babies, they get an under-developed liver with limited functioning. Due to improper liver functioning, high bilirubin levels are detected in their LFTs tests. Incubators with UV radiated lamps are recommended for such babies.
Breathing & Respiratory Problems
Preterm babies suffering from respiratory infection got their lungs filled with sputum and face difficulty in breathing. Similarly, poorly developed lungs in premature babies also lead to different breathing issues. To keep them safe from any respiratory infection, doctors advise patients to keep them in the baby incubator so any contact with the external environment can be banished.
Sometimes newborn babies get traumatic experiences due to pre- and post-delivery complications or due to complexities faced during C-section delivery. This traumatic experience can result in shock, or become a reason for some neurological condition that’s why doctors immediately put them in a baby incubator.
Post-surgery intensive care
Some babies have to go through the process of surgery due to life-threatening conditions such as blue babies. Under such circumstances, it is highly recommended to shift the babies to incubators to ensure their proper neonatal growth.
According to different health conditions of preterm babies, the NICU unit of the hospital has different baby incubator types. Different models of each type are available which have additional features and monitoring equipment with them. In the UK, the following five types of baby incubator models are utilized in the NICU of hospitals of the whole UK.
Open-box Baby Incubator
These incubators are also known as Armstrong or Radiant incubators. In an open box container, the bed of the incubator is connected with different monitors, and a radiant system is also installed there. The above part of the incubator is open and parents can make skin contact with their babies. These incubators are preferred in Jaundice and low-weight babies which require warmth for their organs to function. These babies don’t require a controlled environment and the doctors are sure about their vital monitoring. For babies suffering from respiratory conditions, this type of baby incubator is not suitable.
Closed box Baby Incubator
These baby incubators are also known as Bubble Incubators due to their bubble-like shape and functioning. Unlike open boxes, these incubators are made to surround the baby’s body from all sides shutting contact with the external atmosphere. This type of baby incubator is suitable for babies suffering from respiratory conditions because these incubators create a controlled micro-environment. There is proper heat flow with simultaneous temperature maintenance and no pollutant, germs are allowed.
Double-wall Baby Incubator
This type of incubator has an additional layer to provide extra protection, a controlled environment, and as well as moisture control. Unlike closed Incubators, there is heat flow and an internal thermostat is responsible for maintaining the heat and temperature. A heated humidified high-flow nasal cannula (HHHFNC) is placed in the airway of the baby via mouth which maintains the humidity for the baby.
Portable Baby Incubator
As the name indicates, the sole purpose of this type of incubators to use for transportation purposes. Parents can use it to take their preterm babies outside or hospitals for a routine check-up. As they are only used for transportation purposes, they are made with lightweight material and small in size. These incubators have limited input points to equipped with lifesaving equipment.
Servo-Control baby incubator
This type of Incubators is a little bit expensive as they are equipped with the latest technology for automated functioning and monitoring. The internal machinery and sensors are commanded by programmed software which automatically controls the internal environment according to set parameters.