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New Ulm Medical Center

Great expectations: Birth center to expand, renovate

Expect great things at the Birth Center at New Ulm Medical Center (NUMC). A $1.2 million expansion and renovation project is planned for spring 2013.

After completion, two new labor and delivery rooms will open. The four existing labor and delivery rooms will be updated and equipped with the comforts of home. Also, the nursery will be expanded and moved closer to the nurses’ station, and a meeting room will be added where caregivers can consult privately with one another and with families. Security will also be improved with the installation of a more advanced system.

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This architect’s drawing features a birds-eye view of the plans for the new Birth Center labor and delivery rooms at New Ulm Medical Center.

“The additions and renovations will help make giving birth at NUMC the special and memorable experience that it should be for families,” said Carisa Buegler, director of the New Ulm Medical Center Foundation.

Patients will be nearby

Until now space in the OB department has been limited. So new moms sometimes have to be moved to medical/surgical or critical care units to recover.

“About 25 percent of our OB patients are not able to stay within the Birth Center,” Buegler said. “It’s not as convenient for the patient or efficient for the nursing staff when their patients aren’t nearby.”

Once the renovations and additions are complete, space will no longer be a problem. Everyone will be in the same area.

“We will have six labor and delivery rooms,” said Jennifer Brehmer, RN, patient care manager of the Birth Center. “So we shouldn’t have to move patients – at least not very often.”

More deliveries expected

About 30 babies are born each month at NUMC. But one of the reasons for the renovation now is that the department is expected to get a little busier.

A few nearby hospitals recently closed their birthing centers. “We anticipate that may increase our numbers,” Buegler said.

Also, Springfield Medical Center stopped offering inpatient OB services to its patients in early 2012. So they come to New Ulm to deliver. About 30 to 40 babies a year were born at Springfield.

Rooms updated with amenities

NUMC wanted to keep its birth center in the same location.

“Our solution was to expand down an adjoining hallway,” Brehmer said. Rooms currently in that hallway are used for equipment sterilization, meeting rooms and respiratory therapy. Those areas will be relocated within the hospital. Work began on moving them over the summer.

The new and renovated patient rooms will have a pull-out sleep couch so dad or other family members can stay with mom and the newest addition. A new infant security monitoring system will also provide added security.

“The bathrooms will be considerably larger,” Brehmer said.

Fundraising to help pay for project

Allina Health is providing $900,000 for the project. A grant from the state of Minnesota will provide another $100,000.

The NUMC Foundation is hoping to raise $200,000 through donations. “The NUMC Auxiliary started us off with a $50,000 gift toward the project,” Buegler said. “The OB department is a very special place to the auxiliary.”

Donors will have the opportunity to name areas for their contributions. They include:

  • $25,000 for the waiting area/education room
  • $25,000 for the nurse’s station
  • $10,000 for patient rooms (six available)
  • $5,000 for artwork (to be selected from pre-determined art pieces)

Design based on feedback

Before undertaking the project, the hospital sought feedback from new moms on what’s really important to them.

“It was important to us that the newly expanded Birth Center be what todays women want,” Brehmer said. “So we asked them how we can give them the family-centered birth experience they want.”

The goal is for women who come to New Ulm to deliver to get the same quality experience they would find in larger cities, Brehmer said.

“The expansion and renovation project will provide more room for mothers and their babies,” Bruegler said. Most importantly, “it will match the environment with the excellent care that has always been provided.”

You can help

Go to the NUMC Foundation website or call 507-217-5180 to donate.