UMCP Offers Advanced Level of Care for Premature Newborns

Mar 14, 2016
Physicians and nurses at University Medical Center of Princeton (UMCP), working closely with specialists from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), are now able to provide intensive care to medically fragile newborns.

The new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)* opened this month in UMCP's Center for Maternal & Newborn Care. The 14-bed NICU was previously authorized to provide intermediate care, treating babies born at 32 weeks of pregnancy. (Babies born before 37 weeks are considered premature.)

This month, UMCP finished the necessary steps to convert six of the 14 beds to an intensive level of care. That means UMCP can care for babies born at 28 weeks who weigh at least 1 kilogram, or 2.2 pounds.

The NICU is managed as part of UMCP's ongoing partnership with CHOP to enhance newborn and pediatric services at all levels of care. Pediatricians from CHOP are on-site 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to provide pediatric emergency consultations, inpatient care and neonatal care at UMCP.

Newborn care in the NICU is coordinated by a multidisciplinary team of experts and trained staff, said Benedict E. Asiegbu, MD, FAAP, a medical staff member of both CHOP and UMCP who serves as Medical Director of Neonatology at UMCP.

"CHOP Newborn Care at UMCP brings advanced neonatal services to Princeton and the surrounding community," Dr. Asiegbu said. "Before, expectant mothers who were at risk of premature birth would have to travel some distance to get the care they needed for themselves and their babies. But with the intensive-level care we can provide at UMCP, that's no longer necessary."

"We are offering new parents peace of mind during the most stressful of times," said Barbara Christiano, Vice President for Patient Care Services/Chief Nursing Officer. "They can stay here in trusted, familiar surroundings with their own doctors, who are supported by experts from CHOP, one of the best children's hospitals in the country."

The NICU upgrade was approved by the New Jersey Department of Health. To complete the conversion, UMCP acquired special respiratory equipment for the newborns, renovated the NICU space and provided specialized training to nurses and other staff members. A significant portion of the cost was covered by donations from patients who were grateful for the excellent maternity care they received.

The Center for Maternal & Newborn Care at UMCP is designed to offer an exceptional patient experience. UMCP earned the 2016 Women's Choice Award® as one of America's Best Hospitals for Obstetrics, a designation based on patient safety and outcomes data as well as recommendations in patient satisfaction surveys.

For more information about maternity care at UMCP, visit

* UMCP is licensed by the New Jersey Department of Health as a Community Perinatal Center-Intensive. That unit is identified here and in the hospital by the more commonly recognized term NICU.

About Princeton HealthCare System
Princeton HealthCare System is a comprehensive, integrated healthcare system that strives to anticipate and serve the lifelong needs of central New Jersey residents, including acute care hospital services through University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro, behavioral healthcare through Princeton House Behavioral Health, rehabilitation, home care, hospice care, ambulatory surgery, a primary and specialty medical practice, and fitness and wellness services. For more information, visit

Andy Williams, 609-252-8785