The number of babies born at Winneshiek Medical Center is gradually increasing.

Winneshiek Medical Center births have steadily increased since July of 2010. From fiscal year (FY) 2011 to FY 2012, WMC saw an increase of 22 percent or 40 births, and the first two quarters of FY 2013 continue to show growth, with 7 percent more births than last year.

"Winneshiek Medical Center is enjoying the increase in newborns," said Linda Klimesh, chief nursing officer, Winneshiek Medical Center.

"The capabilities we have at Winneshiek Medical Center exceed the capabilities of most rural hospitals, which has created a regional draw to our facility," said Klimesh.

In addition to serving Winneshiek County families, more than 90 deliveries were from outside the county, with many from Minnesota.

Kevin Locke, M.D., a Mayo Clinic Health System family medicine physician, has been delivering babies at Winneshiek Medical Center for 23 years.

"Our OB department has an outstanding and experienced nursing staff that I have complete confidence in," said Locke.

While many rural hospitals rotate staff nurses into OB as needed, the Winneshiek Medical Center obstetrics department is the only hospital in the area to have dedicated OB nurses for patient care.

Locke added, "Patients seem to appreciate the range of services we offer here, like 24-hour availability of epidural anesthesia, while still experiencing the personal touch of a small hospital. The WMC Obstetrics 'package' offers the best of both worlds for many families."

The WMC obstetrics department is a private, exclusive unit with a dedicated staff of 14 registered nurses, including breastfeeding experts, a lactation consultant and car seat technicians. Winneshiek Medical Center is equipped to handle planned and emergency cesarean sections with four general surgeons on the active medical staff, offers on-site respiratory therapy available 24-hours a day/seven days a week, on-site radiology to provide needed ultrasounds, and is equipped with a fetal monitoring system. Delivering mothers also have the option of choosing epidural anesthesia during labor, which is offered 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

Year in review

Winneshiek Medical Center delivered 231 newborns in calendar year 2012: 51 percent girls and 49 percent boys. Mayo Clinic Health System physicians and midwife delivered most of the newborns at WMC in 2012 with providers Kevin Locke, M.D., Tyler Menke, M.D., Sarah Wymer, M.D., and Emily Young Johnson, CNM. Gundersen Lutheran providers who delivered babies at WMC include: Matthew Thompson, D.O., Janet Ryan, M.D., Kristy Schilling, M.D., and Kurt Swanson, D.O.

Topping the list for the most popular names were: Zoey (Zoë), Jaxson/Jaxon/Jackson/ Jack and Blake.

Denise Duffy, obstetrics nurse manager at WMC said, "Parents are becoming more creative when choosing a name for their newborn. More common names or names from years past are being re-invented with new and different spellings."

She added, "Names are also crossing the gender lines; you can no longer assume the baby is a boy or girl based on the name."

The obstetrics department features rooms with a home-like atmosphere, comfortable furniture, refrigerators, wifi technology and the HUGS & KISSES state-of-the-art security system. The Winneshiek Medical Center Foundation recently gifted $200,000 to the Obstetrics department to refresh the space for new families.

For more information on Obstetrics at Winneshiek Medical Center, call 563-382-2911.