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Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

Most moms-to-be don’t plan for their newborn to end up in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, or NICU. But should a problem arise during your pregnancy or after your delivery, you’ll want to be prepared. Your baby could need a NICU in cases of premature birth, difficulties in the delivery, birth defects, or illness. And these babies are most likely to receive the essential care they need from a hospital equipped with a NICU. Here are five reasons why it’s helpful to choose a hospital for your delivery that has a NICU. Valley Baptist Health System offers the only two level III NICUs in Cameron County.

Prepare for the Unexpected

When you’re planning for the arrival of your new baby, you probably don't expect to need a NICU. But should the unexpected arise, it’s important to be in the right place. Giving birth in a hospital with a NICU on premise means you’ll be surrounded by nurses and doctors specially trained and ready to address these issues and care for your newborn.

Avoid Stressful Transfers and Delays

Delivering in a hospital with a NICU means that, if your newborn needs additional care, he or she will not have to endure a potentially stressful ambulance ride while being transferred to a different facility. Plus, the care your baby needs will be available much more quickly rather than being delayed by the need for a transfer. Time is of the essence when a baby needs this crucial, specialized care.

Around-the-Clock Care

In the NICU, your baby will be cared for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No matter what time of day or night a need arises for your newborn, skilled nurses, doctors, therapists and more are available to address the need and give your infant the care he or she requires.

Keep Baby and Mom Together

If you have just given birth in a hospital without a NICU, and your baby needs to be transferred to a facility with a NICU, you may find yourself separated until you are able to be released. However, if the hospital where you deliver has a NICU, you will never be far from your newborn, allowing for vital feeding, kangaroo care, and time together as soon as the baby is able.

Highly Trained Staff

The staff in a NICU includes a neonatologist – a pediatrician with additional training in caring for premature and sick infants – who will oversee your baby’s care. Other staff includes multiple types of therapists, specially trained nurse practitioners, and social workers. These people have received specific training, and have the technology and equipment to help them address the special needs of babies requiring a NICU stay.


Valley Baptist—Brownsville’s NICU is a Level III facility with 32 beds, and can care for all premature babies at the critical, step-down, and intermediate care levels.

Valley Baptist—Harlingen also offers a Level III NICU facility, with 38 beds to serve the tiniest of newborns.

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