Allina Health and Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota have broken ground for the $30m Mother Baby Center at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids, US.

Expected to be opened in mid-2015, the new facility will provide birthing options for mothers and babies in the north Twin Cities metro area – including Coon Rapids, Anoka, Buffalo, Maple Grove and neighbouring communities.

The facility is set to feature the only Level II special care nursery in the north metro with private patient rooms, providing in-room accommodation for families to stay together with their baby.

A transition to and from The Mother Baby Center at Abbott Northwestern Hospital and Children’s in Minneapolis could also be possible for babies born at less than 34 weeks gestation, or for those who require a higher level of care.

Allina Health president and chief clinical officer Dr Penny Wheeler said the enhancement of services at Mercy Hospital, especially for high-risk mothers and babies, will mean fewer will need to go farther from home for care.

"We want to keep mothers and babies as close together as possible. Patients are happier when they can receive the care they need close to home," Wheeler added.

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"Patients are happier when they can receive the care they need close to home. That is what Allina Health aspires to do in all of the communities we serve."

"That is what Allina Health aspires to do in all of the communities we serve."

Mercy Hospital will move its current birth center to the new 62,200ft², two-storey Mother Baby Center attached to the hospital. For high-risk patients, a skyway will grant connection to the hospital’s main operating room.

Following completion, the new facility will have the capacity to accommodate 2,700 births per year, with shelled space for growth for up to 3,500 births annually.

Additional features will include a designated entrance with valet services and immediate access to triage, ten labour and delivery rooms, 22 post-partum rooms, two large operating rooms, and an infant resuscitation room.

The Mother Baby Center will also feature a ten-room Level II special care nursery with 14 bassinets, a newborn nursery, five triage rooms, all private patient rooms with full bathrooms, luggage carts and hospitality amenities, a family lounge dedicated to families whose baby requires neonatal care, and provider call rooms.