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Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

Related services

Despite the greatest care we take and all the plans we make, sometimes pregnancy and birth don’t happen as we hoped.

At Sanford Birth Center—a part of Sanford Health—we offer specialized care for babies who are born premature or with medical complications. Our neonatal intensive care team is led by a neonatologist who specializes in baby care. The Sanford Birth Center staff is here to help not only your infant, but you and your family as well. We encourage you to spend as much time as you wish with your baby and participate in his or her care.

Sanford Birth Center has a Level 3B NICU which means we care for infants less than 28 weeks (seven months) gestation and less than 1000 grams (three pounds).


Arsian Arshad, MD Arlsan Arshad, MD
Rafael Ocejo, MD
Keeta Knaup, NNP

Services provided by the neonatal intensive care unit

Management of preterm infants (22—36 weeks) and full term infants (37—40 weeks) with complications from birth

  • Artificial surfactant therapy
    Premature babies may be born before the development of lubricating lining in the lungs called lung surfactant. Surfactant therapy will help babies born with lung disease recover faster.
  • Phototherapy
  • Ventilatory support
    Babies born with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), meaning their lungs are too immature to breath effectively on their own, may need support of the ventilator (mechanical breathing machine).
  • Umbilical line placement
    Central IV lines that are placed in the baby’s umbilicus. These lines are used to provide medications, monitor blood pressure, and to draw laboratory tests (painlessly).
  • Pediatric surgeon consults available
  • Pediatric urologist
  • Pediatric cardiology consultation
  • Outpatient pediatric cardiology clinic once monthly at the Sanford Children's clinic.

Advanced diagnostic studies

  • Ultrasound
  • Computed tomography (CT scanning)
    Sometimes called CAT scanning, this is a noninvasive, painless medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. CT imaging uses special x-ray equipment to produce multiple images or pictures of the inside of the body and a computer to join them together in cross-sectional views of the area being studied. The images can then be examined on a computer monitor or printed.
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
    This is a medical imaging technique most commonly used in radiology to visualize the structure and function of the body. It provides detailed images of the body in any plane.
  • Visual evoked potentials (VEP)
    This is an evoked potential caused by sensory stimulation of a subject's visual field and is observed using electroencephalography. Commonly used visual stimuli are flashing lights, or checkerboards on a video screen that flicker between black on white to white on black (invert contrast).
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG)
    Electroencephalogram is a test that measures and records the electrical activity of your brain. Special sensors (electrodes) are attached to your head and hooked by wires to a computer. The computer records your brain's electrical activity on the screen or on paper as wavy lines. Certain conditions, such as seizures, can be seen by the changes in the normal pattern of the brain's electrical activity.
  • 4-channel sleep studies
    4-channel sleep studies monitor infant breathing, heart rate and oxygen saturation while asleep.

Synagis immunization program

Synagis is an immunization for the prevention of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). RSV is a common virus that affects people of all ages causing cold-like symptoms in infants and most children. In premature infants, however, RSV infection can result in serious respiratory disease, sometimes requiring hospitalization.

Shots are given on a monthly basis during the winter (RSV) season.

For more information, call (701) 323-5437.


Phototherapy is a treatment given to newborns who have a condition known as jaundice. Jaundice is common in newborn babies. It is caused by build up of a yellow-brown pigment called bilirubin, which is found in the blood and skin. No medical treatment is needed in most cases. It usually improves in four to five days.

Babies with higher amounts of bilirubin in their blood will receive phototherapy treatment. The baby is placed under special fluorescent lights that are absorbed by the baby's skin.

During phototherapy:

  • The baby is undressed so that as much of the skin as possible is exposed to the light.
  • The baby is put into an enclosed plastic crib (incubator) with a heat control to maintain the correct body temperature.
  • The baby's eyes are covered to protect eye from the bright light. The baby needs to be fed on a regular schedule. There is no need to stop breastfeeding.

The baby's bilirubin will be measured daily.

If your baby becomes more yellow after you've gone home, call your baby's doctor.

Pediatric rehabilitation

The path to independence begins at the Rehabilitation Center at Sanford Health. Pediatric Rehabilitation is a joint effort of the physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech/language therapy teams who work in a unique and supportive environment. Click here to learn more about Sanford Health's pediatric rehabilitation services.

24-hour transport services

The NICU at Sanford Health has a skilled nurse transport team that is available for transporting sick or preterm infants to and from outlying hospitals via ground or air ambulance.

Neonatal resuscitation program (NRP)

This course has been designed to teach an evidence-based approach to resuscitation of the newborn. The causes, prevention, and management of mild to severe neonatal asphyxia are carefully explained so that health professionals may develop optimal knowledge and skill in resuscitation.

The Neonatal Resuscitation Program is an educational program that introduces the concepts and basic skills of neonatal resuscitation.

The S.T.A.B.L.E. program

This educational program provides general guidelines for the assessment and stabilization of sick infants in the post-resuscitation/pre-transport stabiliation period. These guidelines are based upon evidence-based recommendations in neonatal texts and published literature whenever possible.


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