Both Bismarck hospitals set records in 2011 with more births. At St. Alexius Medical Center, 1,434 babies were born. Medcenter One saw 770 births.
There was a 7 percent increase from 2010 in babies born at Medcenter One. St. Alexius had a 5 percent increase. Dickinson and Williston also saw more births than in past years.
At St. Alexius, there has been a steady increase of births, with 65 more births in 2011 than 2010, according to Stephanie Goroski, director of women's and children's services.
Medcenter One saw a similar trend. But its births were down in 2010 with 719 births, from a record year in 2009 with 758 babies born.
The number of babies born at Dickinson's St. Joseph's Hospital increased 14 percent, from 361 in 2010 to 412 in 2011. Deb Bolin, director of obstetrics, said this many babies haven't been born in Dickinson since 1994. Since then, the numbers hadn't been above 400.
At Mercy Medical Center in Williston, 526 babies were born in 2011, up 22 percent from 430 births in 2010. Mercy expects to have 600 births in 2012, said Lorrie Antos, Mercy OB department manager. Mercy isn't set up for high-risk pregnancies and babies, Antos said, and has formed partnerships with St. Alexius and Trinity Medical Center in Minot to accommodate the increase in high-risk births.
"They have seen increasing numbers of deliveries and increasing numbers of high-risk pregnancies and sick babies," said Mahesh Patel, director of St. Alexius' neonatology unit. Patel also is working with Mercy to increase the ability to treat sick newborns.
St. Alexius also saw the most babies born in one month in 2011, with 132 babies born in May. Another 132 babies were born in August. In May 2010, 128 babies were born, and in August 2010, there were 122 babies born. Medcenter One also had the most births of the year in May with 78 babies born. There were 64 births in May 2010.
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Dickinson had a record month with 49 babies born in September. "That's the most we've done in one month in several years," Bolin said. There were 34 babies born at St. Joseph's in September 2010.
Antos said births have been increasing steadily each month in Williston.
With the increase in births, hospitals around the state are increasing staff and constructing additional rooms.
St. Alexius is adding six maternity wing rooms to meet the growing demand and Goroski said she might need to hire more nurses for 2012. Mid Dakota Clinic also is hiring to meet the increase and has a new OB/GYN starting in July. Jeff Neuberger, the chief financial officer, said the clinic will hire as many doctors as it can keep busy and will re-evaluate this fall.
Medcenter One's Birthcenter One has added more staff and an OB/GYN.
In Dickinson, Bolin may hire more nurses and said St. Joseph's Hospital is hiring at least one, maybe two, obstetricians.
To meet the need of Williston's growing population, the city is adding an ambulatory care center to Mercy. The facility will be connected to the OB department as an outpatient center with an additional eight maternity beds. The new care center is scheduled to be completed in June.
Antos said Mercy also added five full-time nurses and Great Plains Women's Health of Williston has added two OB/GYNs.