When you have a high-risk pregnancy, traveling far from home to have your baby can be a stressful experience. That’s why Children’s Minnesota is bringing a new level of care to mothers and babies in the Twin Cities North Metro Region.
The Mother Baby Center, a partnership between Allina Health and Children’s Minnesota, is expanding its neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) services at Mercy Hospital. The expansion will improve access to neonatal doctors and allow the Center to care for younger babies, including the most critically ill and premature infants.
With these expanded services, The Mother Baby Center at Mercy with Children’s Minnesota will shift from a Level II to a Level III NICU.
Enhanced care for younger babies
As a Children’s Minnesota Level III NICU, The Mother Baby Center at Mercy will be able to care for babies born 30 weeks or later. It will also have:
- Equipment to provide life support as long as necessary.
- Advanced breathing support.
- Doctors who specialize in premature babies and critically ill newborns (neonatologists) available 24/7.
- Neonatal nurse practitioners and respiratory therapists available 24/7.
- Advanced imaging services.
- Laboratory services.
- Access to pediatric subspecialists, including surgeons, maternal-fetal medicine specialists, ophthalmologists and anesthesiologists.
By comparison, Level II neonatal care, also called a special care nursery, cares for babies born after 32 weeks. Babies in Level II neonatal care have less severe health conditions, which usually resolve shortly after birth. In some cases, doctors may move babies from a Level III NICU to a Level II as the baby’s health improves.
Better access to Children’s Minnesota expertise
The Mother Baby Center at Mercy launched its NICU service expansion in early 2021, ready to care for babies 30 weeks and older. It’s scheduled to complete the process by mid-2021, when it will be able to care for babies down to 28 weeks old.
As part of this expansion, Children’s Minnesota worked with doctors and nurses to create processes and procedures to care for high-risk mothers and babies. There was extensive education and training to make sure every staff member can care for these complex cases.
In addition to the new Level III NICU at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids, The Mother Baby Center offers neonatal expertise at its locations in Minneapolis and St. Paul. The Mother Baby Center at Abbott Northwestern and Children’s Minnesota includes a Level II special care nursery and Level IV NICU. The Mother Baby Center at United and Children’s Minnesota provides Level III NICU care with a Level II special care nursery embedded within the NICU.