Level II and Level II E Nurseries Provide Extra Care

Learn why choosing a hospital with a Level II or Level II E Nursery is so important for premature babies or those who have complications.



Memorial Hospital Belleville has a Level II Nursery. What does that mean?

Donna Stephens, the director at Memorial's Family Care Birthing Center, explains, "Level II means that we can keep babies 32 weeks gestation and higher and with some special needs. For instance, any assisted ventilation can be handled in a Level II but only for a time period of six hours, and if the baby still has a need at six hours, then it has to be transferred to a higher level of care."

What does Memorial Hospital East's Level II E Nursery provide?

Dr. Shawn O'Connor, a neonatologist with Washington University Physicians in Illinois, Inc., says, "A [Level] II E allows us to keep babies 30 weeks gestation and higher, and there's no time limit on assisted ventilation. So if that baby needs ventilatory support, we can provide that as long as needed, you know, assuming everything's going along well."

"We have the capability of taking care of infants that are very premature, up to 10 weeks early and down to as small as just over two pounds, thinking that most of our babies are five to seven, eight pound babies," Dr. O'Connor continues. "And so we're equipped with taking care of those most fragile infants, which in the general vicinity there aren't many hospitals around in this area of southern Illinois that are able to do that."

How do you help parents who have babies in the Level II or Level II E Nurseries?

Memorial's Family Care Birthing Center assistant nurse manager, Natosha McEvers, explains, "We love to provide education to our parents. I mean truly they are the best caregivers for their newborns, so we love to educate and support and just have them involved in all the care that they can with their newborns."

What are the benefits of the Level II and Level II E Nurseries for Memorial patients?

Stephens answers, "If the patient knows that she's going to have a high-risk pregnancy or a complicated delivery and that there is a potential that her baby will be delivered early or have some special needs, she can still plan to deliver here on this side of the river and not have to go over to St. Louis. That river's just a barrier for some people. I mean there's travel required. If a baby gets transferred to St. Louis, it's separated from its mom, which is not an easy thing. So they can make those plans to stay close to home and deliver here. We also provide the resources needed to provide the care to those babies. In other words, we are partnered now with Washington University, St. Louis Children's Hospital in the neonatologists and pediatricians, so we have those physicians on site to provide that level of care right here close to home."