Neonatal Abstinence Care Unit

All new babies and mothers need special care, but some babies and moms need a very specialized kind of care to reduce or prevent the symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). At Kentucky Children’s Hospital, we specialize in providing non-judgmental care and supportive medical and emotional assistance to mothers struggling with addiction before and after birth. Our Neonatal Abstinence Care Unit (NACU) helps your baby have the best possible start.

What is NAS?

NAS develops when a baby becomes addicted to the drugs his or her mother is using. When born, the baby goes through withdrawal, which can cause seizures and other health issues. Babies with NAS are also more likely to be born prematurely and have birth defects. Kentucky has one of the highest rates of NAS in the country.

How Can the NACU Help?

Each calming and soothing room in the NACU is equipped with a SNOO bassinet that automatically detects when a baby is crying and rocks it back to sleep. Our nursing staff is solely dedicated to treating NACU babies, and our physicians are experts in treating NAS. The dedicated social workers on staff work with families to help break the cycle of addiction.

Services We Offer

At Kentucky Children’s Hospital, we strive to soothe babies born with NAS without medication whenever possible. Our team treats more than 100 babies every year, and almost all leave the hospital with their mothers within just a few weeks. We also provide support for families, including:

  • Group therapy
  • Lactation consulting to encourage breastfeeding
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT), including suboxone
  • Massage therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Parenting classes
  • Prenatal clinic

We Are Here to Help

If you or a family member is facing a pregnancy while in the throes of addiction, make an appointment today to learn more about how Kentucky Children’s Hospital and UK HealthCare can help both mother and baby prior to, during and after birth. 


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