Published on December 30, 2019

Pella Regional Welcomes Record-Breaking 600th Baby

PELLA, Iowa – Born Friday, Leon Alan Elder has already made history. His December 27 birth marked the 600th baby born inLeon Alan Elder-600th Baby 2019 at Pella Regional Health Center. Reaching 600 deliveries in one year is a record number at Pella Regional.

“We are blessed to serve many families throughout the region, “said Jody Van Veen, Director of Obstetrics at Pella Regional. “We welcome our 600th baby with enthusiasm as we do every baby delivered here.”

Weighing 8 pounds, 3 ounces, Leon was born at 7:37 am to parents Jessica and Brad Elder from New Sharon. The delivering doctor was Dr. Tereasa Van Zee, while Dr.  Michael Thompson performed the C-Section and Lisa Tucker, RN, was the labor nurse.

 “Nearly three dozen rural Iowa hospitals have closed their obstetric services since 2000,” said Deb Willyard, Chief Nursing Officer at Pella Regional. “Based on stats we’ve seen, we believe Pella Regional delivered nearly 200 more babies than any other Critical Access Hospital in Iowa in 2019. This is testament to our highly trained physicians and nursing staff, who provide excellent patient care to a growing number of families that choose Pella Regional to welcome their little ones into this world.”

For the past several years, Pella Regional has experienced steady growth in obstetrics, drawing patients from farther away. Part of this growth is due to closures of regional obstetric programs, especially in smaller, rural areas. When a hospital delivers less than 60 babies annually, the obstetric program becomes very difficult to sustain, leading to an increasing number of closed obstetric programs across the state.

Pella Regional opened up a new state-of-the-art Family Birthing Center in August of 2017 that is large enough to meet this growing demand well into the future. Highlights of the Family Birthing Center include:

  • Welcome desk staffed with trained volunteers to guide patients and visitors
  • Custom made stained glass window and calming artwork
  • Convenient nutrition area for patients and families
  • Baby bath sinks in patient rooms so mom can easily watch baby’s bath from bed
  • Whirlpool tubs in each labor room
  • Expanded infant procedure room
  • Baby viewing window with special step for kids to see into the nursery
  • High risk infant area specially equipped for our most fragile babies with highly trained staff to meet neonatal emergent needs
  • Nursery lighting programmed to dim according to circadian rhythm

Pella Regional has 9 family practice physicians who also provide obstetrics, the largest in the region. These physicians include Spencer Carlstone, MD; Rebecca Dykstra, DO; Anne Hellbusch, DO; Lucas Mihalovich, DO; Richard Posthuma, MD; Daniel Rowley, MD; Tereasa Van Zee, DO; Craig Wittenberg, MD; and Elizabeth Wooster, MD.