UPDATE 2/14/13: After posting this, I got an update saying Children’s Minneapolis was a Level IV, and St. Paul was a Level III. From this AAP chart, you can see the level designation that were in place until last August. After that, the AAP issued these revised guidelines, which helps explain the “Level IV” and “Level III” designations some of the hospitals are now going by. However, some places are still sticking with the old levels, so there will be a mix of both below. I have corrected some errors below.
I’m not even sure what got me thinking about this, but this morning, I woke up curious what the different Twin Cities hospitals had for options for Special Care Nurseries and NICUs. I knew there were different levels and was aware of some of the differences from hospital to hospital, but t struck me that I didn’t know the information for every hospital. It took me some digging online, a few phone calls, and even a couple of well- answered tweets, but I was able to put this little chart together. (More information on the various level designations can be found here.)
|Hospital||NICU Level||How many weeks gestation?|
|Children’s St. Paul (United)||24 weeks|
|Children’s Minneapolis (Abbott)||22 weeks|
|Hennepin County Medical Center||IIIb||23-24 weeks|
|Maple Grove||II||Info not found|
|Mercy||II||Info Not Found|
|North Memorial Medical Center||III||23 weeks|
|Fairview Ridges||IIIa||30 weeks|
|Fairview Riverside (Amplatz Children’s)||IV||Info not found|
|Saint Frances||II||Late preterm|
|Saint Joseph’s||II||34 weeks|
|Saint John’s||IIIa||28 weeks|
|Fairview Southdale||IIIa||30 weeks|
The Level IV designation is used to indicate a very specialized level of care is available but is not recognized formally by the American Academy of Pediatrics as a designation. (See above)
Now, as I used to tell families on hospital tours, I hope you never have to see the insides of any of these nurseries, but the information is still good to know, especially if you have a higher risk pregnancy. For low risk pregnancies, this is probably not an important factor– making sure you give birth in the place you are most comfortable with a care team that you trust is of utmost importance In the cases where there is a greater chance of complication, it might be a good idea to plan to give birth at a hospital where they will have the capacity to care for your child, rather than give birth at one hospital and have your baby transferred elsewhere. Please note– this is by no means the only thing you need to consider when choosing a place of birth. However, for pregnancies with a higher level of risk, this is something to think about!
Did you consider NICUs when choosing a place of birth? Is this information helpful? Sound off below!