Kathy Goetz, vice president of women’s services and the children’s hospital at MercyOne, cuts the ribbon to the new maternity center as Phil Harrop, chief operating officer of MercyOne, assists.

Families in the western suburbs of Des Moines will have a new maternity center available beginning Dec. 1. MercyOne officials held a virtual dedication ceremony this morning for the MercyOne Maternity & Infants Care Center, which is located at MercyOne West Des Moines Medical Center. 

The new maternity center, which occupies the seventh floor of the hospital, includes a new Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, which will be able to accommodate pre-term babies as early as 32 weeks at birth. 

“We really are answering a call — especially from physicians — for more maternity care in the western suburbs,” said Phil Harrop, chief operations officer of MercyOne West Des Moines, on the videoconference call. At least 20 rural hospitals across Iowa have closed birthing centers within the past couple of years, putting more pressure on urban hospitals to fill the gap. 

The new maternity center, which is being built to handle up to 1,500 deliveries per year, will include a Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, which will be able to accommodate babies that are as early as 32 weeks at birth. 

The $13.2 million construction project was designed by BWBR Architects and the general contractor was Graham Construction. The opening will come two months later than the anticipated date, which was originally Oct. 2. 

MercyOne chaplains provided blessings for the newly commissioned birthing and care spaces and some prayers for the families that will soon use them. 

The new maternity center includes: 
- Five private labor and delivery suites with advanced safety features, including fetal monitoring and infant security systems. 
- Fifteen postpartum recovery suites. 
- Two state-of-the-art obstetrical surgical suites dedicated to cesarean-section procedures. 

The five-bassinet NICU (four rooms, with one room that can handle twins) will offer advanced clinical services, leading-edge monitoring technology and specially trained staff. The Level II nursery will provide advanced monitoring for premature and ill infants requiring specialized care. 

“We’re excited about this beautiful facility,” Harrop said during the event, and he encouraged families who are expecting a baby to consider the new facility. “And we ask you that you share it on social media with your friends and family.”