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Local hospital sees baby boom

WORTHINGTON — It’s a baby boom of sorts.

At Sanford Worthington Medical Center, a near record number of babies will be delivered in December.

According to Wendy Marco, Clinical Nurse Manager for Women’s Center in Worthington, it’s a trend throughout the area.

“We were actually laughing about that at one of our staff meetings the other day,” Marco said. “It looks like our numbers are up as well. It does seem to be a trend.”

About 40 weeks ago, southwest Minnesota and northwest Iowa was experiencing unusually cold temperatures and an ice storm that knocked out power to Worthington in what was a federally declared disaster.

“Of course, during the ice storm we all made the joke back then that ‘I bet you we will be busy 40 weeks from this day,”‘ said Marco, who has been with the hospital for nearly 10 years. “That happens to be the month of December. Our numbers are up 20 babies compared to November, so that’s pretty significant for a unit the size of ours.”

According to numbers provided by Sanford, 25 babies were delivered in November.

“I would say usually around 30 is typical,” Marco said. “We deliver around 400 babies a year here in Worthington. That would be an average of about 33 babies a month.”

Marco said 45 babies are due in December.

“Our record was a year ago in November, we had 50 babies come in one month,” she said. “That was definitely the busiest month, but we’re not too far off with having 45 due this month. It’s definitely a busy time for us.”

However, even with the added deliveries, Marco said staffing won’t be an issue.

“Working in labor and delivery, there is always a challenge because it seems no day is quite like the next and we have to be prepared,” she said. “So, we get pretty creative with our staffing plans, and we always evaluate every shift every four hours. We evaluate how many nurses we need on because things can change very quickly. We use a lot of creative methods to make sure we have enough resources to pull to get the right staff on at the right time.”

Of course, with Christmas and New Year’s right around the corner, Marco said scheduling can be tricky.

“We have to really follow our rule book on how many people can be off and what time,” she said. “Again, that goes back to our staffing grid and making sure we can get all our shifts filled appropriately before we can approve vacations and those types of things. Everybody is pretty familiar with the process and takes their turn accordingly, and it works out pretty well.”

In January, Marco said the numbers are back to somewhat normal —3 6 babies are expected.

However, with the recent cold spell, another boom in nine months may not be out of the question.

“You never know,” Marco said. “People don’t want to go outside too much. You have to find something to pass the time.

“It’s been fun because you get to watch the families grow, and people have some fun stories to tell if they are willing to do so,” she added. “You never know. We’ll probably count back 40 weeks from today and say ‘What was going on?’ It’s definitely a possibility.”

Other hospitals in the area are reporting the same near-record trend.

“It’s a fun time, especially around the holiday time, too,” Marco said. “It really seems to be a trend in the whole area.”

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