For all the services Mercy Health Partners deliver at their five hospitals in Southwest Ohio, few are as busy as the baby delivery department at Mercy Hospital Fairfield in booming Butler County.

The Mercy Family Birthing Center there — featuring labor, delivery and neonatal care — employs the Labor Delivery Recovery Post-Partum (LDRP) concept, which allows new mothers to remain in one room their entire hospital stay, and the center’s practitioners are trained to use the latest technologies for maternal and infant care.

“It’s a physical facility that allows very mother- and baby-centered care,” says Dr. Stephen Straubing, Mercy Fairfield’s director of obstetrics and gynecology.

The LDRP concept is a challenge for high-volume birthing centers. Mercy averages about 2,000 births annually. “That’s pretty remarkable considering we started 10 years ago with 400 or 500 births per year,” Straubing notes. The facility includes 17 LDRP rooms, with about 40 physicians in the obstetrics department, 15 of whom deliver on a regular basis. About 100 nurses work on the various shifts of labor and delivery.

Mercy requires all physicians and nurses in labor-delivery to be nationally certified in fetal monitoring, Straubing says. The mandate aimed to end staff confusion over monitoring interpretations and communications. Now, with everyone “basically speaking the same language, everybody understands what we’re talking about, and ultimately that has to lead to safety,” Straubing says.

Another training initiative makes use of perinatal simulators: Think of an advanced artificial baby that does nearly everything a real infant does. “We’ll go over various clinical situations that would be very difficult to simulate except in emergencies,” Straubing explains. “It’s one more thing we’re doing to keep our mothers and babies ahead of the curve.”

In addition, Mercy is now recognized by UNICEF as being “baby friendly.” This means it adheres to specific criteria about breastfeeding, such as not promoting breast milk substitutes or accepting advertising for baby formula in its facilities.