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Midwife to bring OB services to Skiff Medical Center


August 7, 2014

Expectant moms who choose Skiff to deliver their babies will soon have access to a brand-new choice: Newton Clinic is adding a midwife to their roster of providers.

Certified nurse-midwife Lacy Lundgren will be joining Newton Clinic on Sept. 1, which is, appropriately enough, Labor Day.  She’ll be transitioning from working in Des Moines, in a move that brings her closer to her childhood home of Pella, while keeping her in a career she loves.

“My husband works as a pilot here in Newton,” Lundgren said, “and I was hoping to find someplace closer to build a practice.  I cold-called Newton Clinic to see if they had any opportunities and everything just fell into place.”

“We haven’t ever offered midwife services as part of our OB program,” said clinic administrator Mark Thayer.  “It was a very interesting concept, though, so I went to our OB doctors to see what they thought of the possibility.  They approved it unanimously.”

As far back as anyone can recall, this will be a first for the hospital, as well.  “I don’t recall ever having midwives deliver babies at Skiff,” said Vickie Schut, RN, who has been with Skiff for 34 years.  “I think it’s going to be a great fit.  She’s really nice.”

Lundgren’s personality – easily described as warm, humorous and compassionate – is one of several strengths she brings to her profession.  She also has a solid educational background, having received her master’s in nursing and worked as a labor and delivery nurse for five years before pursuing training as a midwife.

“My grandmother was a nursing assistant and she always said I should be a nurse,” Lundgren said.  “From an early age, it was something I knew I wanted to do.”

Lundgren attended nursing training at the University of Dubuque and her birth- and baby-related rotations – labor and delivery, mother/baby, neonatal intensive care and pediatrics – “cemented in my mind which area I would specialize in,” she said.

Following graduation, she and her husband Andy, who had been her high school sweetheart, moved to Chicago.  There she worked in labor and delivery for half a decade at a very busy hospital, where patients only had the choice to deliver with a physician.  Overall, it was a good experience, but she didn’t necessarily like some of the statistics she encountered.  “Some months, there was a 70 percent C-section rate,” she said.

When Lundgren was expecting their first child, she opted to go a different route than the one she’d been observing professionally.  She chose a midwife.

“My experience was just amazing,” Lundgren said.  “She listened to me and gave me choices.”

The positive feeling surrounding the birth of her son Isaac, now 2-1/2, confirmed for Lundgren something she’d been considering for a while: She wanted to train in midwifery.

“I realized what a great fit it would be for me,” she said.  “I had the right medical background, plus the hands-on experience as a nurse.  I already knew how to listen to women and respect them.”

Lundgren arranged to be the student of her own midwife, which meant training in a very holistic, but also hospital-based setting.

“That was ideal for me,” Lundgren said.  “People make these assumptions that midwives and hospitals are mutually exclusive, but that almost couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Of midwife-assisted births, 95 percent take place in a hospital.  Only the remaining 5 percent happen at home or in a freestanding birth center.”

Another misconception is that choosing a midwife means going without other medical interventions.

“I want whatever my patients want,” she said.  “There is a full spectrum of options when it comes to delivering a baby.  It’s not just choosing between being reclined on a hospital bed with a physician delivery or  laboring at home with a midwife.  There are a lot of points between those two.  There are women seeking something in the middle, and that’s what I consider myself – ‘the middle.’  If my patient wants to deliver on hands and knees or side lying, I will make those arrangements.  If my patient wants an epidural, I will advocate to get her that epidural.  This is their experience.”

From their very first appointment with Lundgren, patients will notice a difference from the typical OB experience.  To start, although Lundgren in a Newton Clinic employee, she will see patients at NewCare Health Services, 315 W. 3rd St. N.  The beautifully renovated, spacious setting will be a welcoming environment in which patients are seen during appointments that are longer than those in a traditional clinic setting.

“That’s one of the hallmarks of midwifery,” said Dr. Stephanie Bantell, who provides family practice and OB services at Newton Clinic.  “Because their practice is strongly focused on mothers and babies, they are able to dedicate additional time, during both prenatal exams and the labor and delivery process itself.  I think patients will very much appreciate having another female provider, as well as access to the benefits of the midwife field, which complement the physician services we already have.  We’re excited to welcome her on board.”

Lundgren is already looking forward to collaborating with the providers of both Newton Clinic and NewCare, knowing that their expertise will come in handy.

“My OB population has low-risk pregnancies,” she said.  “I consider myself a specialist in normal.  That means I know exactly when something is wrong.  I will not hesitate to turn to the OB doctors when my patients need me to.”

The same goes with non-pregnant patients.  While Lundgren provides wellness care for women of all ages, she emphasizes her gynecological services, including pap smears, STD screenings and annual exams.  “If you have women’s health needs, I am absolutely the right choice,” she said.  “If you come to me with, say, a need for diabetes management, I will likely refer you to one of my colleagues.”

This cooperative strategy will be beneficial to those women who feel like they may not be eligible for a midwife delivery.  “One group of women I’m eager to help are those who have already had one or more C-sections and will be having another for their current delivery,” she said.  “I can see them for all of their prenatal appointments, up until a few weeks prior to delivery.  Then I will arrange for them to meet whichever physician will be performing the surgical side of the C-section.  When the time for the procedure comes, I will serve as first assist in the OR, so I will still be right there for my patient when her baby comes into the world.  Then I will be her postpartum provider, as well.”

Lundgren greatly enjoys the postpartum portion of her services, which include breastfeeding support (“I’ve been called ‘the boob expert,’” she said with a laugh) and pediatric services through the first year of life.

Lundgren will see patients in the clinic full days on Wednesdays and Fridays, a schedule that will allow her quality time with her family, which most recently expanded to include 9-month-old daughter Emily.  She will be on OB call for Skiff Medical Center three to five days each month, plus one weekend, but plans on attending the delivery of each of her patients, regardless of the day, barring something unforeseen.  This will become even easier when her family relocates from Altoona to Newton, which they plan on doing soon.  “The whole time we were in Chicago, we knew we wanted to eventually move back to central Iowa,” she said.  “I’ve enjoyed my time working in Des Moines, but I’m particularly excited for this transition to Newton.  I grew up in a small Iowa town and I’m eager for my children to do the same.”

Appointments are now being scheduled for Lundgren, who will start seeing patients in September.  To learn more, call (641) 791-0790 or visit www.newtonclinic.com.

Skiff Medical Center
204 N. 4th Ave E.
Newton, Iowa 50208
Phone: (641) 792-1273
Toll-free: (888) 792-1273

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Skiff Medical Center, a member of Mercy Health Network, is located in Newton, Iowa. We provide services to Jasper County residents in all major health areas, including general surgery, orthopedic surgery, radiology, obstetrics, emergency medicine, hospice, home care, laboratory, respiratory, audiology, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. The Skiff Specialty Clinic hosts more than 20 physicians specializing in cardiology, dermatology, ENT, gastroenterology, nephrology, neurology, oncology, pulmonology and urology.
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