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Factors associated with increased risk of CHD in the fetus

Congenital Heart Disease

Congenital heart disease is a heart problem that develops in the womb, before a baby is born. The word congenital means “present from birth.” Many different heart problems are associated with congenital heart disease, from holes in the walls of the heart to more severe defects, such as underdeveloped pumping chambers. These problems can affect the structure, function, and/or rhythm of the heart and therefore interfere with the normal flow of blood through the baby’s body. Congenital heart disease is the most common type of birth defect. Each year, about 40,000 babies are born in the United States with a heart problem. One in four of these babies have critical congenital heart disease, a condition serious enough to require surgery or other medical procedures during their first year of life.

Multiple pregnancy

A multiple pregnancy is a pregnancy with two or more babies. In some multiple pregnancies, the babies develop from different eggs (fraternal); in others, they develop from the same egg (identical). When the babies are fraternal, each has a separate placenta (whose fetal part is called the chorion) and separate amniotic sacs. These are known as dichorionic-diamniotic twins. The babies may be boys, girls, or a combination of both. Like siblings born from different pregnancies, these babies may (or may not) look very similar to each other. Depending on when the fertilized egg splits, identical twins may also be dichorionic-diamniotic. Usually, however, the babies share a placenta and have separate sacs. These are known as monochorionic-diamniotic twins. About 75 percent of all identical twins fall into this category. In rare cases, identical babies share both a single placenta and a single amniotic sac. These are known as monochorionic-monoamniotic twins. Because all identical babies share the same genetic material, they will be of the same gender and look alike, although they will have different personalities.

Fetal Anemia

Fetal anemia is a condition in which a baby’s red blood cell volume falls below normal levels while the baby is developing in the womb. The condition may occur because not enough red blood cells are being produced or because they are being destroyed faster than they can be made. Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, which are molecules that carry oxygen throughout the body. The cells and organs of a developing baby need sufficient amounts of oxygen for nourishment.

Parents Kathy and John with twin boys Cian and Rory out in the woods.

Midwest physicians team up to treat Fargo twins Cian and Rory in the womb

The parents are grateful for the partnership between her doctors in Fargo and the Midwest Fetal Care Center in the Twin Cities.

Renal agenesis

Renal agenesis (REE-nall ay-JEN-eh-sis) is a condition in which one or both kidneys fail to form while a baby is developing in the womb. When only one kidney forms, the condition is known as unilateral renal agenesis. When neither kidney forms, it’s known as bilateral renal agenesis. Unilateral renal agenesis occurs in about 1 in 2,000 births. Bilateral renal agenesis is more rare, occurring in about 1 in 4,000 births. Both conditions are about three times more common among boys than among girls.

Related image for article, The Midwest Fetal Care Center: A combination of experts from Children’s Minnesota and Allina Health produce exceptional outcomes

The Midwest Fetal Care Center: A combination of experts from Children’s Minnesota and Allina Health produce exceptional outcomes

The Midwest Fetal Care Center (MWFCC) team is attending the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine’s (SMFM) 40th annual pregnancy meeting in Grapevine, Texas, from Feb. 3-8, 2020. This annual meeting is a place for leaders and colleagues in maternal-fetal medicine get together and learn about cutting-edge obstetrics updates through workshops, forums and presentations.

Myelomeningocele (MMC) repair outcomes

In 2016, our center performed our first fetal repair of myelomeningocele (MMC), the most severe form of spina bifida. Led by a team of medical experts in the field of fetal diagnosis and therapy, our program has grown to become a high volume MMC fetal surgery center. As of September 2021, the Midwest Fetal Care Center has evaluated more than 81 women for maternal-fetal surgery for spina bifida; 54 chose to undergo surgery.

Twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) procedure outcomes

The Midwest Fetal Care Center (MWFCC) performed its first fetoscopic laser ablation (FLA) for twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) in 2008. Led by a team of top medical experts in the field of maternal-fetal medicine and fetal diagnosis and therapy, our program has become one of the highest volume treatment centers for TTTS in the nation and has exceptional outcomes.


The Midwest Fetal Care Center (MWFCC), a collaboration between Allina Health and Children’s Minnesota, brings together a multidisciplinary team of highly trained maternal-fetal medicine experts from Allina Health and pediatric and neonatal specialists from Children’s Minnesota. Open since 2008, the MWFCC is a national referral center and regional leader in fetal diagnosis, fetal intervention and comprehensive fetal care for unborn babies with abnormalities.