Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

NICU care at Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s Milwaukee, Ascension St. Joseph Hospital, and Ascension All Saints in Racine provides the most advanced technology and care, as well as family support services, comforts and amenities in a setting that starts these infants on the road to health and growth.  Greater Milwaukee Area Neonatal Intensive Care



Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s (CSM) healthcare system is committed to serving all people, with special attention to those who are poor and vulnerable. We care for people in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, and Sheboygan counties, which we have served for 170 years. 

For two decades, our NICU has provided the most advanced care available to premature infants as early as 23 weeks’ gestation. Nurses and therapists work with each infant and their parents on a personalized plan for growth, feeding, administering medications, heart/apnea monitoring and, ultimately, the goal of discharge to home care and the start of a healthy, thriving childhood.


Although the number of births in the greater Milwaukee community continues to decrease, CSM delivery volumes have increased. We have established ourselves as the fastest-growing Women’s Services program in southeastern Wisconsin, and the first choice for a growing number of women.  With so many births, however, there are more babies in need of NICU care.

As a result, CSM moved its NICU in 2011 to a new 11,000-square-foot space in our Women’s Hospital, more than doubling its capacity and expanding the unit to 25 beds in all-private rooms -- the first all-private NICU in the region. The unit provides the most advanced technology and care, as well as family support services, comforts and amenities in a setting that starts these infants on the road to health and growth. 


The all-private rooms reduce the risk of infection, promote bonding time with families, and remove stress caused by noise and light.  With these benefits, patients grow stronger faster, reducing their dependence on ventilators and ultimately sending them home sooner and healthier.   


The NICU also supports components including nurse stations, medicine preparation rooms, physician work rooms, storage rooms, medical/administrative offices, and a visitor’s lounge. The large patient rooms improve care for infants at all levels of acuity from admission to discharge, minimizing the risk of moving to another room. 

Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) at Ascension St. Joseph Hospital, established in 1973, was the first in Wisconsin.

Each year, more than 2,000 babies are born at St. Joseph -- more than any other hospital in the state -- and we admit 330 to our world-class Level III NICU, the highest-level NICU available.


We rank among the best hospitals in the nation and the world in critical areas, including shortest hospital stays – and higher-than-average survival rates -- for very low birth-weight babies.


The youngest babies to survive in our NICU have been born at 22 weeks’ gestation, or 18 weeks premature. Our smallest surviving baby weighed only 368 grams -- 13 ounces, or just a little heavier than a soda can.  

We care for the full range of gestational ages. One of the patient populations we often see are late pre-term and term infants, those born at 34 weeks’ gestation and older. They are a healthy weight for their age, but they require intensive care for relatively minor issues, such as low blood sugar, respiratory distress, poor feeding, or traumatic deliveries, which require  observation for a short period. 


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