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Regional Medical Center in Manchester opens new, $2M obstetrics unit

Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 11:26 PM CDT
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MANCHESTER, Iowa (KCRG) - As more and more birth centers are closing in hospitals across the country and in Iowa, a trend concerning doctors and medical professionals, a hospital in Manchester is doing the opposite.

Regional Medical Center opened its new obstetrics and family health unit in March, an investment of around $2 million into providing even better care for families and the community it serves.

Hospital leaders call the new area a much-welcomed upgrade from their previous OB unit.

“We had only three rooms that we could actually deliver in, and then we had a couple smaller, postpartum rooms, so we were moving patients around a lot more. We’re really hoping to not have to move patients. They can stay in that room their entire stay,” said LeAnn Fenton, Regional Medical Center’s acute care director.

The new unit features five LDRPs, rooms where mothers can labor, deliver, recover, and have their postpartum stays in one location, which are more spacious than the former unit’s rooms.

“The size of this room is huge. I, myself, could live in here,” Dr. Grace Wang, an OB/GYN at Regional Medical Center, said.

While larger rooms and upgraded equipment and security throughout the unit are benefits for expecting parents, Dr. Wang said having an OB unit in Manchester isn’t just convenient — it’s a matter of safety, with the next closest birth center about 45 minutes away from the city.

“I would say the majority of deliveries go fine, but how do you know if yours is going to be fine? Because things can change very quickly, and if you’re at home, that’s a delay in care and possible worse outcome,” Dr. Wang said.

“Then also, Iowa winters, and you’re traveling, and you’re pregnant. There’s so many barriers and things that you come across,” Fenton added.

And now, fewer hospitals prepared for deliveries.

More than 30 Iowa hospitals have shut down their obstetrics units since 2000, most coming in rural areas.

But Regional Medical Center isn’t one of them, as hospital staff deliver about 200 babies each year, according to Fenton.

They believe, with this new unit, even more moms will come to the hospital to welcome their babies into the world.

Then Regional Medical Center hopes those families will return for any future care they might need after that.

“It’s investing in our future here as a hospital but then also in our community,” Fenton said.

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