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River Falls Area Hospital

Jessica Swenson enjoying time with her son Isaac.

Jessica Swenson enjoying time with her son Isaac.

High satisfaction levels

The Birth Center earned high satisfaction ratings in a recent survey of labor and delivery patients; 95 percent of patients said they would recommend the Birth Center to family and friends.

"Satisfaction is high because we really focus on helping each patient have the best experience they can," McGary said.

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Great beginnings happen at the Birth Center

While preparing to deliver her son Isaac, Jessica Swenson envisioned a soothing water birth. By delivering at the Birth Center at River Falls Area Hospital, Swenson got all that she was hoping for.

During labor, Swenson sat in a tub of warm water while a nurse massaged her back. "I was able to focus on breathing and relaxing instead of contracting all my muscles," she said. "That really helped."

Families have options

"We work with you to make your child’s birth personal and comfortable, according to your labor and delivery preferences," said Birth Center Manager Julie McGary.

The facility is an ideal size for that, according to McGary. About 240 babies are born there each year. The center features four private, spacious birth suites. "Our experienced staff is able to provide personalized attention to every new mom and her baby," she said.

Swenson, 21, said she learned about water births in prenatal classes. "I wanted to be able to deliver naturally, like my mom. I thought this would be a unique way to deal with the pain of labor," she said.

Advanced care for difficult deliveries

Because the Birth Center is part of Allina Health, its staff receives the same thorough training as the staff at larger facilities. Using advanced technology, the staff can accommodate complicated pregnancies and births that require Cesareans as well as vaginal births after C-sections (VBACs.)

The Birth Center also accommodates preferences for pain management. "Our staff supports you whether you choose pain medicines or not," McGary said. If patients choose a medicine-free labor, the center can provide positioning techniques and aromatherapy to help alleviate pain.

Dads, significant others and labor coaches are made part of the birthing experience, too. They're encouraged to take an active role in coaching her through labor. Mom and her significant other are treated to a special dinner before going home.

"We consider patients as our highest priority here and the nurses maintain high skill levels to be able to deliver excellent care to them," McGary said.

Source: Western Wisconsin Healthy Communities magazine, winter 2013
Reviewed by: Julie McGary, Birth Center Manager, River Falls Area Hospital
First Published: 12/04/2012
Last Reviewed: 12/04/2012