Riverwood perinatal safety recognition, new grandparents class

Riverwood’s OB team shows off recognition banner. Pictured from left are Andrea Barneveld, Mary Belz, Tina Hughley, Christina Schmitz and Megan Workman.

March of Dimes has recognized Riverwood Healthcare Center for reducing the number of elective inductions and Cesarean deliveries performed before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy.  Full-term pregnancies give more babies a healthy start in life. Babies delivered before full term are at increased risk of serious health problems and death in their first year of life.

Riverwood, along with other hospitals that were recognized for perinatal safety, reported less than a 5 percent early elective delivery rate for four quarters, and has a hard stop policy with clearly defined medical indications for deliveries less than 39 weeks along with a process to monitor the scheduling of Cesarean sections and inductions of labor prior to 39 weeks gestational age.

“We’re proud of our expert team of nurses and physicians who saw this opportunity to improve care in our community and put in place policies to avoid scheduling elective inductions or caesarean deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy, except when medically necessary,” said Chad Cooper, Riverwood CEO.

Babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants. Recent research by the March of Dimes, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that although the overall threat is small, the risk of death more than doubles for infants born at 37 weeks of pregnancy when compared to babies born at 40 weeks, for all races and ethnicities.

“The last weeks of pregnancy are important.  Babies aren’t just putting on weight.  They are undergoing important development of the brain, lungs and other vital organs,” says Lawrence Massa, March of Dimes board member and Minnesota Hospital Association president and CEO. “I commend Riverwood for being a champion for babies with their quality improvement effort.”

The March of Dimes offers professional and consumer education materials about the importance of a full-term pregnancy and the critical development of the brain, lungs and other organs that occur during the last weeks of pregnancy. More information is available at http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/pregnancy-39weeks.aspx

Prenatal education includes new class for grandparents

Prenatal education classes are offered at Riverwood Healthcare Center in Aitkin throughout the year. Designed  to provide information to new parents on what to expect during labor and delivery plus tips on feeding and caring for your baby, each session offers a series of five consecutive classes for expecting parents, plus a brand new sixth session for grandparents.

“We added the grandparents class to the prenatal education series to teach them about infant caregiving,” says Sue Landsverk, Riverwood registered nurse with many years of obstetric experience who teaches the classes. “This class is open to grandparents who may or may not have family members attending the first five weeks of the prenatal education series. Topics covered will include how the labor and delivery process is handled today and tips on infant safety and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome prevention.”

The winter session of prenatal classes will meet at the hospital on Tuesdays, Jan. 7, 14, 21 and 28 and Feb. 4, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The grandparents class will meet Feb. 11 at the same time. For information on later sessions in 2014 or to register for the prenatal education classes, call Riverwood Education at (218) 927-5552.