An incubator is an apparatus used to maintain environmental conditions suitable for a neonate (newborn baby). It is used in preterm births or for some ill full-term babies.
There are some other machines that are used during the care of sick babies these include:
Blood pressure monitor: The blood pressure monitor is a machine thats connected to a small cuff which wrapped around the baby’ arm or leg. This cuff automatically takes the blood pressure and displays the numbers on a screen.
Oxygen hood: This is a clear box that fits over the baby’s head and supplies oxygen. This is used for babies who can still breathe but need that extra oxygen.
Ventilator: This is a breathing machine that delivers air to a baby’s lung. Babies who are very unwell will receive this ventilation this means the ventilator breathes for the babies while their lungs recover.
Possible functions of a neonatal incubator are:
Oxygenation, through oxygen supplementation by head hood or nasal cannula, or even continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or mechanical ventilation. Infant respiratory distress syndrome is the leading cause of death in preterm infants, and the main treatments are CPAP, in addition to administering pulmonary surfactant and stabilizing the blood sugar, blood salts, and blood pressure.
Observation: Modern neonatal intensive care involves sophisticated measurement of temperature, respiration, cardiac function, oxygenation, and brain activity.
Protection from cold temperature, infection, noise, drafts and excess handling: Incubators may be described as bassinets enclosed in plastic, with climate control equipment designed to keep them warm and limit their exposure to germs.
Provision of nutrition, through intravenous catheter or NG tube.
Administration of medications.
Maintaining fluid balance by providing fluid and keeping a high air humidity to prevent too great a loss from skin and respiratory evaporation