Nearly 100 Craig babies born in Steamboat

The Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs has not yet reported the birth of any babies from Moffat County families for the New Year.

Last year, 91 Moffat County babies or almost a fourth of all the hospital's deliveries were born in Craig's neighbor to the east.

"There are no (Moffat County) babies on the horizon," said Public Relations Director Christine McKelvie of the Yampa Valley Medical Center. "There have been no births yet."

The Memorial Hospital in Craig declined to offer information on its first baby born in the New Year, citing its desire not to pinpoint one baby as more special than another.

"We think every baby is a celebration," TMH Administrator Randy Phelps said.

But many Moffat County mothers are choosing to have babies delivered at the Steamboat hospital. In addition to Moffat County births, McKelvie said the Yampa Valley Medical Center sees expectant mothers from a range of surrounding counties including Jackson, Grand and those on vacation in the tourist town.

The Steamboat hospital's birth rates have risen since it completed a renovation that was initiated in 1999. The hospital hosts five birthing rooms with whirlpool bathtubs. Services include an on-call neonatal nurse practitioner 24-hours a day as well as a selection of doctors specializing in obstetrics/gynecology, McKelvie said.

"I think that's what sets us apart," she said. "In the past we transferred mothers in labor to larger hospitals. (After the upgrades) we've had a lot more births."

Last year, Mc Kelvie said the hospital delivered a total of 384 babies.

In comparison, TMH reported about 130 births last year, Phelps said. The number of births was up 39 percent compared to 2002.

Moffat County resident, Ann Franklin who is due with her first child in late February said her decision to have a baby in Steamboat stemmed from the good rapport built up with her doctor, who works for Yampa Valley OB/GYN. The clinic is associated with the Yampa Valley Medical Center and also has an office in Craig.

"I'm reassured that one of the two women doctors that I really like will be there to deliver my baby," she said. "Another reason is the hospital has such a good reputation and gets good reviews."

While Franklin readies to have her baby, she's taking preparation classes at TMH.

"I hadn't heard anything real negative about here (TMH) but I just decided to go to (Steamboat) to have my baby," Franklin said. "I know a few other people who are due in January that are also going up there."

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or by email at ahatten@craigdailypress.com.

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