Posted: 30th November, 2023

Neonatal care in hospital

Sometimes when a baby is born they need special care called neonatal care. Having a baby in neonatal care can be worrying, but the staff looking after your baby should make sure you receive all the information, communication and support you need.

Not all hospitals provide specialist neonatal services, so your baby may be transferred to another hospital if they need special care.

More information

Why babies need special care

Your baby could be admitted to neonatal care for a number of reasons.

Including when they:

  • are born early (premature)
  • are very small and have a low birthweight
  • have an infection
  • have jaundice
  • had a very difficult birth
  • are waiting for, or recovering from, complex surgery

Premature labour and birth

Premature labour is labour that happens before the 37th week of pregnancy. About 8 out of 100 babies will be born prematurely.

Call your midwife or maternity unit if you’re less than 37 weeks pregnant and you have:

  • regular contractions or tightenings
  • period-type pains
  • a gush or trickle of fluid from your vagina – this could be your waters breaking
  • backache that’s not usual for you

Neonatal Unit Virtual Tours

Trigger warning

If you are a parent or carer and wish to use the virtual tours to explore a neonatal unit, please make sure you are in a safe space and feel emotionally ready to visit.  Especially if you are revisiting a unit after a previous experience, some parents have told us that this can, even years later, bring back emotional memories, so please take care.

Parent Information

It’s natural to feel anxious if your baby needs special care. Talk over any fears or worries with the hospital staff. Hospitals often have their own counselling or support services, and a number of charities run support and advice services.

The consultant neonatologist or paediatrician should arrange to see you, but you can also ask for an appointment at any time if you wish.


Having a healthy pregnancy if you struggle with your mental health


Mental Health

If you already struggle with your mental health or are receiving treatment for a diagnosed mental health disorder, pregnancy can be a worrying time. Our maternity teams can help guide you through a safe and healthy pregnancy.

Find out what we are doing in Sussex to support your mental health during your pregnancy.

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