Skip to Content

Frequently Asked NICU Questions

We know there is some misinformation in the community about our NICU. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions so you can get the facts!

How do patients benefit from Mercy’s NICU relationship with the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital?

Mercy’s neonatologist, Dr. Roger Allen, as well as the Mercy NICU staff, will have direct access to UI Children’s Hospital neonatologists and the UI’s latest research and educational guidelines to ensure the best possible outcome for every baby. Access to Iowa’s highest-level neonatal experts, working side-by-side with Mercy’s NICU team, will begin immediately at birth.

When the highest level of care is needed, both Cedar Rapids hospitals transfer newborns to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. In fact, of babies born in Cedar Rapids, Mercy has the lowest transfer percentage rate. In 2013, less than 0.3% of our newborns required a higher level of care – and that was at the University; last year, St. Luke’s transferred 3% of their newborns.

What makes delivering a baby at Mercy special?

At Mercy’s Birthplace and NICU, we believe your baby is unique, and your birth experience should be, too. We are committed to doing everything we can to ensure you and your baby are healthy and your experience is positive and personalized. You’ll notice the Mercy Touch in many ways – from service to safety – including:

  • The area’s most experienced neonatologist, Dr. Roger Allen
  • The latest technology, including Giraffe Omnibeds, hearing screeners, fetal monitoring and more
  • Immunization cocooning to protect your baby from whooping cough
  • A certified car seat technician on staff to ensure your car seat is properly installed
  • Information on safe sleep practices and your own HALO® Sleep Sack® swaddle wearable blanket to take home
  • The area’s largest, most private NICU suites with a private bathroom and other conveniences, where both parents can stay comfortably with your newborn as long as necessary
  • 24-hour room service so you can eat what you want when you want it – according to your tastes and schedule, not ours
  • Warm, fresh-baked cookies every afternoon
  • Free, 15-minute mommy massage
  • Newborn portraits by Read Photography

But, don’t take it from us. Read what our patients are saying, as reported by patient satisfaction surveys.

What if I go into labor at less than full-term; can I deliver my baby at Mercy?

Absolutely! Rest assured: nationally, less than 2% of babies are born at less than 32 weeks gestation. Plus, at Mercy you’ll have access to Iowa’s highest-level neonatal experts – the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital neonatal team – working side-by-side with Mercy’s NICU team beginning immediately at birth.

Does Mercy have the NICU equipment to care for premature babies?

Yes! Mercy is fully equipped to care for babies who are born at 30 to 32 weeks gestation (based on baby’s health) and higher.

We believe babies born earlier than 30 to 32 weeks gestation deserve the very best care available in the state – at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, which is #30 in the nation for neonatology according to U.S. News & World Report. The University is the only NICU in the state listed in this national ranking. 

If your baby is in this small percentage of newborns, our partnership ensures the coordination and care team are already in place and working together to safely transfer your baby to the University’s NICU, which has neonatal outcomes among the best in the nation. In fact, of babies born in Cedar Rapids, Mercy has the lowest transfer percentage rate. In 2013, less than 0.3% of our newborns required a higher level of care – and that was at the University; last year, St. Luke’s transferred 3% of their newborns.

Does Mercy have experience caring for NICU babies?

Mercy's NICU opened in 1996 and is fully equipped to care for babies born as early as 30 to 32 weeks gestation. As part of our relationship with the UI Children’s Hospital NICU, Mercy is also adding three nurse practitioners (ARNPs) to join the area’s most experienced neonatologist, Mercy’s Roger Allen, MD, for 24/7, in-house NICU coverage. We’re also proud of our experienced NICU nurses, who have been with us an average of 12 years.

Our priority is always the health of your baby and we understand you want what’s best for your baby, too. We believe our tiniest patients deserve the best care possible, regardless of whether it is here at Mercy or just 20 minutes away at the University’s nationally ranked NICU. Our providers and staff have strong, personal relationships with the UIHC NICU team; in fact, several have joined Mercy after working at the University.

With the University NICU so close, better equipped and more highly trained than any other NICU in the state, it only makes sense for the healthcare organizations in Cedar Rapids to depend on our colleagues there to provide the highest level of care for these extreme cases (which account for less than 2% of all births). When the highest level of care is needed, both Cedar Rapids hospitals transfer newborns to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.

Does Mercy have 24/7 NICU coverage?

As part of our relationship with the UI Children’s Hospital NICU, Mercy is adding three nurse practitioners (ARNPs) to join Mercy neonatologist Roger Allen, MD for 24/7, in-house NICU coverage. Our first two additions – Stacey Guertin, ARNP, DNP and Teresa Davidson, ARNP, PNP – were both actually neonatal nurse practitioners at the University prior to joining Mercy.

Does Mercy have access to helicopter transfers, if necessary?

Yes, Mercy is served by air transport from both St. Luke’s Hospital and the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics.

Does Mercy have a place for me and my partner to stay when my baby is in the NICU?

Of course! The majority of NICU babies need, in addition to medical care, a chance to bond with their families. We have made this family-centered care a priority at Mercy with the area’s largest NICU suites. Mercy is the only hospital in Cedar Rapids to offer a place where both parents can stay comfortably with their newborn in a private, full-size NICU suite complete with a variety of conveniences, including a private bathroom, full-size bed and more. This allows you to be near your baby at all times, and the opportunity to truly be a part of his or her care. Plus, even after you're discharged, there is no charge for both mom and dad to stay with your baby in the NICU. 

We invite you to come and tour so you can compare our NICU suites to other NICU rooms in the area. You’ll definitely notice the difference and we’re proud that your family can begin and stay together at Mercy.