What is Neonatology?

Michael Pollick

Neonatology is a subspecialty of pediatrics which focuses primarily on the medical needs of newborn babies, or neonates. If a baby is born prematurely or presents with an obvious medical problem at birth, he or she may be brought directly to a neonatology center for intensive treatments. Neonatology teams generally limit their practice to babies born in the hospital but not released, or those transferred from other neonatal intensive care units (NICU). Once a mother and child are released from the hospital, most neonatalogy centers will refer any emergency care to a standard pediatric care unit.

Most neonatal specialists complete several years of clinical training in their area of expertise.
Most neonatal specialists complete several years of clinical training in their area of expertise.

A pediatrician who wants to become a neonatology specialist must first earn his or her standard medical license and then complete three more years of training. Most neonatology work is performed at larger hospitals with the resources to provide state-of-the-art NICU equipment and staffing. Most expectant mothers with normal pregnancies would never encounter a neonatologist under most conditions, although one might be consulted by the birthing team if a complication should arise.

Neonatology teams specialize in treating babies transfered to the neonatal ICU.
Neonatology teams specialize in treating babies transfered to the neonatal ICU.

Neonatology specialists study such things as the effects of a mother's lifestyle or outside environment on the development of newborns. There are also medical conditions unique to newborns, such as asphyxia from the umbilical cord or a blood condition which causes mothers to form antibodies against their own child's blood type. Babies born to cocaine or alcohol-addicted mothers may also be brought directly to a neonatology center for further observation and treatment.

In most cases, babies and children begin to see a regular pediatric doctor after being released from the hospital following birth.
In most cases, babies and children begin to see a regular pediatric doctor after being released from the hospital following birth.

Many pediatricians do not enter the field of neonatology because the working hours can be brutal and the salary range is not always commeasurate with the level of responsibility. A starting neonatology specialist may only earn US$75,000, with a veteran neonatologist topping out at US$250,000. Oftentimes a critical newborn patient may require 24-hour care, which can mean long shifts and irregular sleep schedules. Most neonatology work is hands-on, with only an occasional opportunity to pursue research work or attend seminars.

Neonatology specialists may study the effects of a mother's lifestyle or outside environment on a newborn.
Neonatology specialists may study the effects of a mother's lifestyle or outside environment on a newborn.

Neonatology can be an exciting field for those who are passionate about pediatrics and critical care in general. NICU staff members tend to be very compassionate and knowledgeable by nature, and the work environment can be much less stressful than emergency medicine or general pediatric practice.

Neonatology focuses primarily on the medical needs of newborn babies.
Neonatology focuses primarily on the medical needs of newborn babies.
Expectant mothers with normal pregnancies may never encounter a neonatologist.
Expectant mothers with normal pregnancies may never encounter a neonatologist.

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Discussion Comments

tmorgant21

In North Carolina,at UNC, what is the average salary for a Neonatologist?

anon239790

You would have to go to college for four years, I'm pretty sure.

anon180841

A starting Neontologist will not make $75,000; that is wrong. They are specialists, and a specialist will not make less than a primary care physicians or pediatrician.

New PCPs and Ped EMTs/DOs start off making 145K so why would a specialists who's already done a residency in Peds only make 75K? Wrong info, that's a little more than a resident physician makes.

jenniefrann

Being a neonatologist is a very serious thing to do. you have to think wisely and not regret your decision. I'm also thinking of becoming a neonatologist to, but when i did some research on it, it's really harder than you think. 14 years of schooling plus if you make a mistake you can get fired, go to prison, or get sued.

I'm still thinking on what i want to be. What do you guys think of these jobs: pediatrician, lawyer, pharmacist, firefighter, obgyn, pet doctor, and tell me about any other good jobs you guys know asap please, and remember Neonatology is a subspecialty of pediatricsm which focuses primarily on the medical needs of newborn babies, or neonates.

If a baby is born prematurely or presents with an obvious medical problem at birth, he or she may be brought directly to a neonatology center for intensive treatments. Neonatology teams generally limit their practice to babies born in the hospital but not released, or those transferred from other neonatal intensive care units.

anon157591

I am 16 and I have always loved neonatology. Are the stories you hear about true when a woman "kangaroo cared" her baby back to life? I really want to be a neonatologist and these stories fascinate me. I have tried contacting many different people to get information about it but I never seem to get a reply. Anything anyone can tell me will help a lot!

anon149534

It takes 14 years to finish neonatology schooling.

anon125783

anon123177: Being a neonatologist is not just about the money or the years of study. The purpose is to save lives! Think about that.

anon123177

I don't get why anyone would even want to be a neonatologist. It takes so long to become one, and once you are one, you barely get any money!

anon119617

well i am 16 i also want to become a neonatologist but i have a good question to ask: why do you have retire at age of 63 when you have just probably finished the study of it?

anon83172

I would like to know how many years of college i would take, and what kind of college. Like Medical or just some kind of degree? -Belle

anon72021

who do they do? what do i have to do to become one? i am only 16, but i am thinking about it Someone please help.

anon57974

Do neonatologists preform surgery?

asmi

hey, i wanted more information on neonatology like covering the following questions:

What are the disorders of neonatology?

What treatment should be taken?

What are the recent issues dealing with it?

please sir/madam i have 2 give a seminar on neonatology so i need information. It would be very nice of you if you could share some information with me. and you can suggest me any book 2 refer. thanking you.

anon18444

Do neonatologists preform surgery on the preemies ?

anon3273

what is the job growth of neonatology?

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