A photo of a preemie's baby footPremature and High Risk Babies

Neonatology refers to the care of preemies or babies who are very sick due to low birth weight, birth defects, heart trouble, lung problems, or other life-threatening conditions. University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital is home to a Level 4 NICU—the highest level recognized by the American Academy of Pediatrics. This means that our NICU is equipped to care for the tiniest and most critically ill babies, offering the greatest range of neonatal services and support. In fact, we care for more complex conditions than any other NICU in Iowa. 

Our survival rates for babies born at 22, 23, 24, and 25 weeks are significantly higher than survival rates for extremely premature babies born at other U.S. hospitals, placing UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital among the top neonatal intensive care providers anywhere.

One reason so many premature and ill babies survive and thrive at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital is the culture of collaboration. Specially-trained doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, nutritionists, social workers, pharmacists, lab technicians, physical therapists, and more—all with expertise in neonatology—work together to provide the most advanced care for every family

Neonatologists at Iowa are advancing care for premature babies through neonatal hemodynamics—one of only a handful of hospitals in the nation—that uses ultrasound technology to better understand the relationship between the heart and the brain in premature infants.

Few parents consider the possibility that their baby might need special medical care after birth. Even fewer think about which neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) might care for their baby. One out of nine mothers do not carry to full term (37 or more weeks), and roughly 100,000 babies end up in a NICU each year. We hope that your pregnancy and delivery go smoothly, but if the unexpected should occur, here are 15 important questions you need to ask

A neonatologist's destiny

“Whenever anyone asks me why I’m a neonatologist, I tell them this story.”

“My name, Destany, really suits where I came from. It was my destiny to survive," Destany Schafer, Quincy, Illinois. “And it was my destiny to be a neonatologist," John Dagle, MD, PhD.

Ways to Give

Mother's Milk Bank of Iowa provides donated human milk to premature and full-term infants in Iowa. Babies receiving donated milk include hospitalized premature infants, infants born with immunological defects, adopted infants, and babies whose mothers produce an insufficient amount of breast milk or have an illness requiring a brief cessation of breastfeeding.

Other Resources for Parents

  • Newborn Channel: Information for parents about caring for their baby in the NICU and at home
    (NOTE: Hospital Password: 02826)
  • Your NICU Baby: Information for parents about what to expect when your baby is in the NICU
    (NOTE: Hospital Password: 02826)

Health Professionals

Support Groups

Breastfeeding Support Group

Join us at our Breastfeeding Support Group to learn more about breastfeeding and have your questions answered. Led by a board certified lactation consultant, you'll problem solve with an expert and meet other moms. The support group is free of charge.

Dates/Times: The first Tuesday of each month from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Location: University of Iowa Health Care–Iowa River Landing 105 East 9th Street Lower Level Community Room Coralville, IA 52241

Patient Stories

Locations and Contact

  • UI Stead Family Children's Hospital
    200 Hawkins Drive
    Iowa City, Iowa 52242
    In House Directions: Elevator I, Level 6
    • 1-888-573-5437 (888 573 KIDS)

Care Team


Neonatal Nurse Practitioners

Pediatric Nurse Practitioners

Pediatric Clinical Pharmacist

Other Team Members

Neonatal Nurse Practitioners:

  • Gina Rottinghaus, ARNP, NNP-BC
  • Jenna Marlow, ARNP, NNP-BC
  • Mary Pat Greteman, ARNP, NNP-BC
  • Kristy Newton, ARNP, NNP-BC

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner:

  • Nina Pletcher, DNP, ARNP, CPNP