Obstetrics and making birth special

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“I have always wanted to help people,” said Sarah Riedel, Obstetrics Supervisor at Tri-County Health Care. Sarah is the first point of contact for expecting mothers at Tri-County Health Care. She and her staff work around the clock to elevate birth from just another medical procedure to a special moment parents will look back on for years to come. Her job is about genuine care and a passion for the miracle of life.

For Sarah, she wanted to be a nurse from the age of ten. After becoming an LPN, she worked in postpartum care. It didn’t take too long for Sarah to set her sights on the OB department. At the time, she had a friend who worked in obstetrics, and she recalled thinking it was the ultimate job. “I wanted to see what happened down that hallway,” remarked Sarah.

Sarah Riedel has been working in obstetrics for years and has helped deliver hundreds of babies.

Sarah Riedel, RN, BSN, IBCLC, CPST

What to expect

Sarah has been in the obstetrics department ever since. She has been at Tri-County Health Care for almost three decades and has personally observed the evolution of delivery. Over the years, this delicate process has become even more efficient. Sarah and the rest of the OB staff strive for every delivery to be special, but sometimes nerves find their way into the delivery room. Sarah breaks things down into just a few steps.

  • The day is finally at hand. The contractions are setting in, or maybe your water has broken. Remain calm and call ahead to the OB nurse at 218-632-8770. Once pertinent information is gathered, it’s time to head to the hospital.
  • A room is promptly prepared, and the registration staff is alerted about your arrival.
  • Once you arrive, you will be placed on a fetal monitor. More information is gathered about the health of the mother.
  • Vital signs are checked next. This isn’t done right away because often, people are a little stressed from the initial rush of getting to the hospital.
  • A sterile vaginal exam is conducted to see how far dilated and effaced the patient is. The baby is also checked to make sure its head is down.
  • The provider will order further observation, send the patient home, or the birthing process will start.

Advice from Sarah

Navigating pregnancy can be hard but it doesn’t have to be so nerve-inducing. Sarah wanted to share some of her special tips for expecting mothers.

  1. Stay off the internet unless it’s a reliable source. Internet surfing sessions don’t usually lead to enlightenment, so close the browser unless you absolutely need information and get it only from trusted sources.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. There are no dumb questions. Ask questions often and seek out information when needed. Prenatal education nurses are a great resource.
  3. Read through all documents and literature the OB staff gives you. These are prepared to help you through delivery and often answer many questions while putting you at ease.
  4. Don’t let the negative experiences of others affect your birth. Your birth is your own and you largely decide how well it will go.

Tri-County Health Care obstetrics OB birthing services WadenaWhy choose Tri-County Health Care?

Tri-County Health Care goes above and beyond in every aspect of care, but obstetrics is even more special. According to Sarah, Tri-County Health Care has the best technology and providers around. Nothing beats the personal touch and in the small community of Wadena. Sarah and her staff usually know each patient before they walk through the door because they are so involved in the pregnancy. This builds an environment of personalized trust. Sarah and her team are so good at what they do; they have patients consistently coming back even after moving out of state. Tri-County Health Care even provides services like a Certified Nurse Midwife, water births, and TOLAC’s (Trial of Labor After Cesarean).

Tri-County Health Care has a Prenatal Education Department with OB nurses who will meet with you regularly throughout pregnancy. Patients have an initial meeting then meet with a nurse at 20, 28, and 36 weeks.

Minnesota Milk Bank for Babies

Tri-County Health Care has been working with Minnesota Milk Bank for Babies past year. Through this partnership, a milk depot opened. This service allows mothers with an abundance of milk to help families in need. The process is outlined below.

  1. Mothers can contact the Minnesota Milk Bank for Babies via phone at 1-763-546-8051. Over the phone, complete a quick screening to get things started.
  2. MMBB will send you paperwork along with a blood draw kit. A blood draw is required to test for communicable illnesses like HIV.
  3. You can schedule your blood draw at any Tri-County clinic. This is a free blood draw. You should make your appointment in the morning so your blood can arrive at MMBB by the end of the same day for processing.
  4. Once you become an approved donor, you will get a donor number and you can schedule a time to bring in the donation—Call 218-632-8741 to schedule delivery. The donor number on transport bags is required.

In 2020, Tri-County Health Care collected  5,080 ounces of milk. This milk is pasteurized at the milk bank, then sent out to hospitals and NICUs. It is available in the metro to purchase for personal home use. A typical feeding for a premature baby is 1/3 of an ounce or less, so donations from Tri-County have provided over 15,000 feedings to date!

To learn more about obstetrics and birthing services, please visit TCHC.org. Call 218-631-3510 to schedule an appointment and follow Tri-County Health Care on Facebook for regular updates.


Caring for children from the very start

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Establishing a primary care provider is beneficial for people of all ages. Providers develop relationships with their patients to aid preventative care and treatment. For many providers, their passion lies in caring for children from the very start.

Dr. Julie Meyer, Julie Meyer M.D., Tri-County Health Care, caring for patients, caring for children, obstetrics, pregnancy, pregnant, birth, delivery, doctor, Wadena

The importance of prenatal care

For Julie Meyer, M.D., caring for expecting mothers and their children was her passion and the reason for pursuing a career in medicine. She has been practicing family medicine and delivering babies for 20 years. Having an extensive background in obstetrics has allowed her to provide expert care for her patients throughout their entire pregnancy.

Dr. Meyer works with her patients as early as possible. That often means before they conceive. She discussed the importance of taking prenatal vitamins and having a conversation about things to avoid while attempting to get pregnant. “We want the baby to have the safest environment possible,” said Dr. Meyer.

That care continues after conception to make sure there are no complications during pregnancy. This care includes:

  • Watching for signs of gestational diabetes
  • Monitoring weight gain
  • Observing blood pressure to prevent preeclampsia or other metabolic problems

For Dr. Meyer, it’s important to develop a special bond with the mother. She takes pride in being a support system for the family as they embark on their pregnancy journey.

“One of my favorite parts of prenatal care is developing that special relationship and bond with the mother,” Dr. Meyer said. “Once the baby comes, there will be a lot of questions. I want them to be comfortable with me so they can call me and get their questions answered. No question is a stupid question when it comes to pregnancy or a newborn baby.”

At Tri-County Health Care, primary care providers plan to be there for their obstetric patients through every milestone. These include the planning stage, pregnancy, delivery, postnatal care, and beyond. When it’s time to deliver the baby, Dr. Meyer jumps into action. She puts a high value in being there for every moment. It’s very rare for her to miss a delivery.

The importance of well-child visits

One part of caring for newborns and children is monitoring their progress as they grow up. There are certain milestones providers are looking for to make sure proper development is occurring. The first year is detailed and frequent. There are 5 key milestones over the baby’s first 12 months.

“We want to make sure these babies are developing their muscles and coordination,” Dr. Meyer said. “We look to make sure they’re meeting their milestones like rolling over, sitting up, crawling and pulling to a stand along furniture. Then, ultimately walking, running, climbing and driving parents crazy because they’re so busy!”

Providers then monitor fine motor development. It involves making sure their coordination is working with their fingers so they can grasp food and feed themselves. Eating their food is followed by holding a pencil or crayon. Additionally, they focus on the child’s speech to make sure they’re starting to babble, make noises and ultimately begin talking.

Pre-teen and teen development milestones

The initial years of a child’s life involves several meetings with a provider to monitor growth. While appointments typically become less frequent as the child grows older, they are still essential. Part of ongoing well-child exams includes making sure the child is up to date on immunizations. It is also a good time to discuss with families if there are any other concerns.

These appointments also look for any developmental delay issues. It’s important to diagnose these problems early so those children can function better at school and more easily with adult life.

Dr. Meyer also monitors the child’s growth to determine if they are falling behind. That includes caring for children by checking their height and weight. It is a good indicator of any red flags like growth hormone deficiencies. Checking height and weight at these well-child exams can help prevent things like diabetes or pre-diabetes in their pre-teen and teenage years.

In addition to monitoring their progress, it’s exciting to develop relationships with these families. One thing Dr. Meyer enjoys is seeing children out in the community.

“It’s fun to watch them at sports activities and see them become leaders in the community,” she said. “It’s gratifying when I’m at the county fair or in the grocery store and have these kids come up and greet me.”

Primary Care at Tri-County Health Care

Dr. Meyer joined the team of primary care providers at Tri-County Health Care in January of 2020. She was named a Top-5 Finalist for the 2020 Family Physician of the Year by the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians. To learn more about Dr. Meyer and the primary care team at Tri-County Health Care, view their videos at TCHC.org/primarycare.

Dr. Julie Meyer, Julie Meyer M.D., Tri-County Health Care, caring for patients, caring for children, obstetrics, pregnancy, pregnant, birth, delivery, doctor, WadenaAbout Dr. Meyer:

Julie Meyer, M.D. graduated from Perham High School and completed medical school at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Meyer has always been interested in biology and even strongly considered veterinary medicine because of her love for animals. She ultimately chose family medicine because she enjoys talking to her patients and developing a strong connection. This is important to providing high-quality patient care.

Dr. Meyer and her husband, Mark, have three sons and live on a hobby farm with 40 rabbits, 15 sheep, 3 cats, and 2 dogs. The farm helps fulfill her passion of caring for animals. She enjoys volunteering in 4-H and helping her youngest son compete at various rabbit shows around the state. Other interests include singing in the church choir, accompanying various groups on the piano and flute, playing volleyball, working in her flower gardens, and traveling to state parks.