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Wirral University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

How will you continue to monitor my baby?

This can be done in several ways - monitors or blood samples. You may think your baby is covered in "wires" when you first meet, but they all serve a purpose and allow staff to monitor the baby without having to constantly disturb them.

The most common monitors are heart beat and oxygen saturation monitors. The heart monitor requires 3 wires with stickers/sensors attached to baby giving a continuous read out of the baby`s heart rate and breathing. The sensors are a soft jelly type pad at one end and gentle to the skin. The oxygen saturation monitor has a probe which is generally wrapped around the foot or hand of the baby with a soft foam cover. This has a red light shining through the skin, which records the oxygen level in the baby's blood.

We often attach a skin probe to the baby to monitor their temperature. We also check baby's temperature by placing a thermometer under their arm at regular intervals. This will help us to vary the incubator temperature to maintain baby's temperature correctly.

A baby`s blood pressure is recorded by using a small blood pressure cuff (similar to the one used during your pregnancy but very small) around the arm or leg.

A frequent test measured by blood sample is blood sugar (blood glucose). Often the blood sugar can be low which indicates baby needs feeding. This may require the baby to have a tube inserted into the vein commonly called a drip or IV (intravenous infusion) to give extra fluids. This may be done if staff feel that the baby is not well enough to have oral feeds. If baby is unable to manage feeding on his/her own, by breast or bottle a tube can be passed into the tummy via the mouth (orogastric tube)or nose (naso gastric tube) and milk given via the tube directly into the tummy. The tube is gently stuck onto the face with tape that is like a second skin, soft and pliable…see the picture on About us.

Another test is a blood gas. This can be done with the blood sugar test and tells us whether baby is coping with his breathing and helps the Neonatal staff to make decisions about the care baby needs.