Wednesday, August 1, 2012
If you don’t know your A’s and B’s allow me to briefly explain.

A is for apnea, a temporary cessation of breathing.

B is for bradycardia, when the heart rate slows to 80 or less beats per minute.

Most babies in NICU will experience both of these at some point. They can be very frightening, but luckily most babies grow out of them quickly. A/B’s can become a hurdle for preemies leaving NICU because they’ll need to be episode-free for several days before discharge.

In some circumstances you’ll be given an apnea monitor to take home with you. They’re very loud (and sensitive!) so you’ll know by the lights and beeps what your child is experiencing.

Leaving NICU with a monitor.
While in NICU practice not watching the monitors – focus on your child! It’s harder than it sounds because when you hear the alarm you want to see what is happening. Leave the monitors for the nurses and instead focus on your child. You’ll need to see how they are doing and if stimulation is needed. Give your baby a chance to do it themselves as hard as it is to not step in immediately.

Like all preemie things they will grow out of A/B’s. For some it might be a matter of days but for others it might take a few months.

Your baby will be monitored by a team of apnea doctors who will analyze the information recorded on your monitor. At first your baby will probably have to be attached 24/7 but once their stats improve you’ll only have to keep them on it at night. Do not brush off your doctor’s instructions! It will only delay getting them off the monitor.

If your baby is turning colors, having a significant amount of A/B’s per day, and/or requiring stimulation on many occasions please contact your doctor immediately and/or go to the ER.


Rachel Beer said...

My daughter was on her A&B monitor for 8 months. So happy she finally made it to a safe low range and was able to come off of it. Thanks for explaining this it would really help my family understand it better.

Precious and priceless so lovable too, the world’s sweetest littlest miracle is, a baby like you.

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