Words You Might Hear

Be prepared

When you walk through the doors of the ICN for the first time a new language will be spoken. Here is a list of the most common words .

Apnoea – This is when your baby may temporary stopping of breathing. A simple touch is usually enough to get him to take the next breath

Aminophylline – a drug commonly given to preterm babies to reduce apneas and bradycardias

Bagging – a small rubber mask is placed over baby’s mouth and nose to pump oxygen from a rubber bag into the lungs. This may be done with long apnoeas or to change a baby’s ventilator tubing

Bilirubin – A yellow byproduct of the body’s red cells being broken down. When a baby’s body is unable to remove this product the results is Jaundice

Bolus – an amount of milk or fluid given rapidly into the gut or into a vein

Bradycardia – a slowing of the heart beat to less than 90 beats per minute. Gently patting or stimulation can usually speed it up

Breast pump – a pump used to express breast milk

Cerebral palsy – a non-specific diagnosis given to children with some impairment of muscle tone, movement, and co-ordination

Central Line – A long term intravenous line

Corticosteroids – drugs that mimic the action of natural steroid hormones –can help the lungs of a fetus to develop more quickly while in the uterus

Corrected age – the age your baby would be if born at 40 weeks

CPAP – continuous positive airways pressure – usually a short plastic tube from the nose to the back of the throat which increases the pressure in the airways

EBM – expressed breast milk

ETT/Endotracheal tube – a thick plastic tube from the mouth or nose into the airways. It is then connected to a ventilator or a rebreathing bag (see bagging)

Express – to collect breast milk into sterile bottles either by hand or with a breast pump

Extremely low birthweight (ELBW) – a baby weighing less than 1000 grams at birth

Full term – a baby born after 37 weeks and before 42 weeks’ gestation

Gavage – to feed a baby milk through a fine plastic tube passed through the nose or mouth into the stomach

Gestational age – the age of a fetus or a newborn, usually expressed in weeks dating from the first day of the mother’s last menstrual period

Head box – oxygen a clear plastic hood placed over baby’s head to increase the level of oxygen they breathe

HELLP – Haemolysis, Elevated Liver enzymes, Low Platelets.

Humidicrib – a machine which keeps the baby in environment of proper temperature and humidity

IGUR – Intra Ututerine growth restriction- usually caused by a problem with the placenta. This result in a small for gestation age baby. (SGA)

Indomethacin – a chemical agent used to close a patent ductus arteriosus

Intravenous feeding – a method of supplying essential nutrients by infusion into a vein

Intraventricular haemorrhage – (Brain Bleed) a type of bleeding within the ventricular system of the brain

Jaundice – the yellowing of the skin caused by a substance billirubin produced when red blood cells break down

Lactation Consultant- A midwife who has had extra training in all aspects of breast feeding. Most major hospitals have one on staff.

Low birth weight (LBW) – a baby who weighs less than 2.5 kilograms

Meconium – tarry, black first stool, sometimes passed before birth

Neonatal – refers to newborn babies within 28 days of birth

Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) – an intensive care unit in a hospital, equipped especially for newborn babies

NG Tube Nasal Gastric Tube – A thin plastic tube for feeding that goes though the nose and down into the stomach. This is the way prems are fed until they learn to suck.

Occupational therapy – the use of purposeful activity with individuals who are limited by physical injury or illness or developmental or learning disabilities to maximise independence, prevent disability and maintain health.

Patent ductus arteriosus – Persistence of communication between the two major arteries coming from the heart – this channel is open during prenatal life, but normally closes shortly after birth

Perinatal – refers to the time around the birth, both before and after birth

Preeclampsia – A maternal problem involving high blood pressure, fluid retention and protein in the urine.

Physiotherapy or “physio” – gentle tapping on the chest wall with a soft rubber mask to loosen mucus. This is then removed by a fine sterile tube passed into the airways

Post term baby – a baby born after 42 weeks’ gestation

Preterm baby – a baby born before 37 weeks gestation

Reflux – a backward flow, referring to a type of vomiting or spilling

Respiratory distress syndrome – a breathing disorder of preterm infants caused primarily by a lack of surfactant in the baby’s lungs

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) – an eye disorder affecting the retina of preterm babies

Speech therapist – May be called in to help a baby who is having trouble sucking

Special care nursery (SCN) – nursery for babies needing observation or treatment but not intensive care.

SGA BABY – Small for gestational age. A baby who is below the normal size. This may be caused by a failure of the placenta towards the end of the pregnancy or a continuing problem during the pregnancy

Tachypnoea – an abnormally rapid rate of breathing

Ultrasound – a painless, safe way to examine some organs, by sound waves seen as a picture on a screen

Ventilator – a machine which supports the baby’s breathing

Very low birthweight (VLBW) – a baby weighing less than 1500 grams at birth

X-ray – chest X-rays are needed regularly on a ventilated baby. The amount of radiation received is very small

The primary aim of PIPA is to provide practical and emotional support to the parents and families of premature infants. However we do not offer professional advice. We are parents of preterm baby’s and not medical staff. We do offer understanding, support, encouragement and friendship.