May births break records at Whitefish hospital

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North Valley Hospital announced a record-breaking 61 babies born at the birth center in May 2011. The last monthly high was March 2010 with 53 babies. 

According to a hospital press release, the number of births at North Valley Hospital has grown between 6 and 35 percent every year since 2005.

North Valley Hospital attributes its home-like birth experience as the reason.

One couple, Monica and Mark Lucas, came here recently from Texas for the delivery of their third baby, Morgan.  Dr. Randy Beach and the staff at North Valley Hospital delivered their two older children.

 “It’s nice to know a friendly face,” Monica Lucas said. “Dr. Beach is like a long-lost friend and North Valley Hospital is very comfortable with wonderful nurses.  If we have a fourth child, we’ll make the trip again.”

Amenities at the birth center include large private rooms, home-like décor, freshly-cooked meals, one-on-one labor support, 24-hour access to anesthesia, lactation consultants and daybeds for loved ones.

 “Choices are important for parents,” said Cindy Walp, birth-center manager. “Options allow each birth to be a unique experience. As long as the requests are safe, we do everything possible to assist throughout so their wishes come true.” 

 North Valley Hospital offers acupuncture and acupressure as pain- and nausea-controlling alternatives to medication in labor, post-partum and post-Caesarean section. According to the hospital, it also offers the only water birth option in Montana. 

The buoyancy of the water helps alleviate pressure, giving the baby an easier transition from the womb, according to a hospital press release.

The hospital reports a Caesarean section rate of about 18 percent compared to the national and state average of about 33 percent.  Also, 97 percent of mother successfully breastfeed. 

North Valley Hospital offers a wide variety of free classes and support groups including birthing education.

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