Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist Joins the Region

Bismarck - There are about 6 million pregnancies each year in the U.S. -
These pregnancies can be affected by hundreds of complications, either from the mom or the baby.

Happening now...Emily Medalen is live to tell us how one specialist in the area is working to help moms-to-be to prevent those complications and stay as healthy as possible.

A maternal fetal medicine specialist is an OBGYN with specialized training to manage high risk pregnancies.

Before this year, the only one of these in the state was in Fargo - so if a mother needed that kind of care, she had to make the trip there - sometimes even more than once a week.
Dr. Ana Tobiasz is the second specialist in North Dakota, and is now at Sanford Health in Bismarck.
Here's how she's making a difference for future moms.

"We've been doing somewhere between 15 and 20 ultrasounds a day," said Dr. Ana Tobiasz, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Sanford Health.

Complications during pregnancies are more common thank you may think.

"Pregnancies complicated by twins, triplets, growth problems for the baby, birth defects that are picked up on ultrasound, or women that are at higher risk for having birth defects," said Dr. Tobiasz.

Dr. Ana Tobiasz works with moms-to-be who deal with these kinds of obstacles every day.

"We have some complications that could alter the baby's status," said Jayme Walsh, Mom, Harvey ND.

Jayme Walsh is 7 months pregnant, and visits Dr. Tobiasz weekly.

"She is affected by a condition called alloimmunization, so she has antibodies that can cross the placenta and can attack the baby's blood cells. So we are monitoring at least once a week for anemia in the baby," said Tobiasz.
"You just have to make due and just take it as it comes," said Walsh.

Walsh had complications with a previous pregnancy, and had to drive to Fargo every time she needed special care.

"We did a fair amount of driving that time," said Walsh.
She says now that this specialized help is offered so much closer to home, having complications isn't as stressful.

"There's so many things that can happen, and you just want to know that you're well taken care of," said Walsh.

Dr. Tobiasz says her goal is to bring a level of comfort to these women in knowing they are getting the exact kind of care they need.

"Making sure people have hope, and can plan, and really just trying to educate patients before the baby arrives."

Walsh's little one is due to arrive at the end of November-
She says having Dr. Tobiasz close gives her the information - and assurance - she hoped for.

"It's great just having the peace of mind to go see somebody nearby," said Walsh.

After spending some time with Dr. Tobiasz and one of her patients, I learned that health complications aren't the only reason to visit a specialist like this.

She says anyone having twins/triplets should see a maternal fetal specialist -  because it means an increased risk for complications.

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