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Why is my baby in an incubator in the NICU?

An incubator is most commonly used with premature babies, which monitors temperature and humidity. An incubator can help a baby grow and thrive.

Intermountain Registered Dietitians
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

When your baby is transferred to the NICU, he may be placed in an open warmer, an incubator, or a combination bed that can function as both an open warmer and an incubator (the Giraffe OmniBed). An open warmer is an open table that allows easy access to the baby and equipment. The heat comes from a lamp heater above the baby’s mattress. An incubator is an enclosed clear-plastic, box-like bed with an internal heat source. (An incubator is also called an isolette.)

Overhead warmers or incubators give your baby a controlled environment in which to grow and get better in the NICU. A coated wire, a temperature probe, is placed on your baby’s skin and is covered with an adhesive patch. The wire measures the baby’s temperature. This information is used to help regulate the amount of heat from the overhead warmer or incubator.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.