MINNEAPOLIS - The first advanced fetal care center in the Upper Midwest is opening right here in Minneapolis.
Thursday, Children's Minnesota and Allina Health announced the opening of the new Michael and Ann Ciresi Midwest Fetal Care Center at The Mother Baby Center.
The state-of-the-art facility will be co-located with Minnesota Perinatal Physicians.
Valerie and Eric Jacobsen of Lakeville were first introduced to the center last summer when Valerie was 33 weeks into her pregnancy. Doctors discovered the baby's small intestine was dilated, which usually indicates blockage.
"I've always heard that Children's is a good place, that the Fetal Care Center is a good place, but you don't really know that until your child is in there for five months," said Valerie Jacobsen.
Leah Jacobsen was born in July at The Mother Baby Center at Abbott Northwestern and Children's Minnesota. After three surgeries, Leah was able to go home. She's now a healthy seven-month-old baby.
"We're really thankful to them," Valerie Jacobsen said.
The new 6,700-square-foot clinic provides more room and resources to help women, like Valerie, with high-risk pregnancies.
"The patients were probably in a space a fourth of this size before," said Pam Velasco, manager of Midwest Fetal Care Center.
She went on to say, "Just having the space to accommodate growth because we have been growing which is great and we outgrew our old space."
According to Velasco, the center saw more than 900 new patients in 2015.
"This is meeting an unmet need for our community. We have the ability to impact complex pregnancies prenatally in a way that we never were able to," said Dr. Brad Feltis, surgical director for the center.
The center also offers the latest technology and treatments in congenital conditions and abnormalities in unborn infants during high-risk pregnancies.
"These are things we can start treating at 16 weeks of gestation. We don't have to wait until the baby's born. Only a handful of places in the country have the ability to do that," Dr. Feltis said.
The clinic was made possible in part by a $1 million gift by Mike and Ann Ciresi.
Staff will now start moving into the center; equipment will also be installed. The Michael and Ann Ciresi Midwest Fetal Care Center opens to patients on Monday.