MILWAUKEE — Having a baby can sometimes come with minor or serious medical complications, and with that in mind, one Milwaukee hospital created an advanced care center dedicated entirely to pregnant women.

"A labor of love - absolutely," Dr. Matthew Lee, Medical Director for Women and Family Services for Ascension Wisconsin said about the years in the making effort at St. Joe's.

"Really, when we think about our populations, we're privileged to serve the most vulnerable, and these are those babies inside of moms and these moms who are going through pregnancy," he said.

St. Joe’s now features a pregnancy emergency department. The goal is to reduce maternal morbidities by offering round the clock highly trained care.

"Somebody there 24/7, so this is a board certified obstetrician gynecologist whose only responsibility is to see women when they mainly come to the hospital and take care of their urgent needs," he said. "We much prefer to see pregnant ladies in our own space with those issues," he added.

This new space, staffed with seven hospitalists, is just feet from the delivery room. Dr. Lee said a short distance can be life-saving.

"If it's an urgent need, it's diagnosed immediately and might need an immediate delivery," he said. "[...] And in a couple of minutes and mobilize our resources together.”
Presently, Ascension Wisconsin is working on pooling even more resources together to provide safer outcomes for moms and babies.

"We're adding physicians, we're adding nurse midwives and it shows," Dr. Lee said.  "We're adding patient navigators really trying to help them are the people we serve, and all aspects of their journeys.”