Record number of babies delivered at Gundersen Health System

July was a busy month for physicians, nurses, and midwives in the Obstetrics Unit at Gundersen Health System. 

In that month alone, a total of 172 deliveries for 176 babies took place at Gundersen Health System. That beats the previous record of 170 deliveries for 174 babies set more than a decade ago in October 2006.

Wednesday is Bennett Lovell’s first day in the world.

"We had ideas of how we hoped things would go, and, as often happens, it didn’t necessarily end up that way," said Emily Lovell, Bennett’s mom.

A new and first-time mother, Lovell credits the staff in the Obstetrics Unit at Gundersen Health System for guiding her through delivery.

"The nursing staff was amazing," she said. "They really talked me off a ledge a few times."

It is an experience that a record-breaking 172 new moms can relate to, as each gave birth to babies at Gundersen Health System in July.

"Out of the 176 we had born, a majority were actually boys. We had 56-percent boys, but don’t worry," said Christina Flisram, Administrative Director for Women’s Health at Gundersen Health System. "Usually by the end of the year that balances out, and we’re pretty even with boys and girls. Most of our deliveries were single babies, but we did have four twins."

"We started to feel the ramp up towards the end of June, and it has just–every shift that I, my colleagues, and our physician colleagues have worked has been really pretty darn busy," said Jennifer McGeorge, Certified Nurse Midwife at Gundersen Health System.

Looking at upcoming estimated dates of delivery, Flisram does not see the number of births going down any time soon.

"We are experiencing about 100 deliveries more this year so far than we did last year, and that looks like it’s going to continue," Flisram said.

Those on staff say the rising statistics make them excited for the future.

"Being with women and helping them through their labor, helping them have the pregnancy and labor that they really want to have," McGeorge said. "At the end of the day, making sure that everyone is safe." 

Flisram says that deliveries are often unexpected. She works to adjust staffing, the number of beds available, and the way patients are brought in to keep both mom and baby comfortable in the busyness.

Despite a report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum reflecting a 22-percent drop in babies born across the state since 1989, those numbers are not seen here in the Coulee Region. Mayo Clinic Health System reports July was an average month for deliveries, and Tomah Memorial Hospital saw a spike with deliveries nearly doubling.

Gundersen Health System announced on Wednesday that they have been designated as a Baby-Friendly Hospital once again. The initiative by World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recognizes hospitals and birth centers that offer pregnant women, mothers, and newborns high levels of breastfeeding support.

“Renewing our accreditation has taken a team effort and we are very proud of everyone involved. Supporting breastfeeding in our patients and community helps keep people healthy and potentially saves billions of dollars in healthcare costs,” states Jennifer Kleven, MD, MPH, FAAP, section head, Inpatient Pediatric Services at Gundersen Health System.

Gundersen Health System has been designated as a Baby-Friendly Hospital since 2008.

There are more than 20,000 designated Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers worldwide. Currently, there are 524 active Baby-Friendly hospitals and birth centers in the U.S.

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