Newborns are not just small adults. They have unique medical needs that differ from even young children and toddlers. Neonatologists are physicians with special training that qualifies them to care for newborns and premature babies. These tiny patients present interesting challenges that a neonatologist is uniquely skilled to handle. They are familiar with treating common and not-so-common illnesses, disorders, and congenital abnormalities the use of special equipment designed for the smallest patients.


1. Education

It's not easy to become a neonatologist. Neonatologists must complete four years of medical school followed by three years as a general pediatric resident. After that, they require three years of training in a neonatal or newborn intensive care unit. In all, neonatologists complete 10 years of schooling and hands-on education before that can seek certification from the Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine sub-board of the American Board of Pediatrics.

NICU Medical School JazzIRT / Getty Images


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