Avera Medical Minute: The benefits of having OB-GYN care in a rural area

MILBANK, S.D. - Having a child can be an exciting time in life. But it's important to keep up with appointments to detect anything wrong during the pregnancy.

Kylie and Ryan Mielitz live about 10 miles outside of Milbank.
In the beginning of Kylie's pregnancy, she came to the clinic for appointments every four to five weeks, then every two weeks and eventually once a week as her due date neared.

"It's awesome. It's just nice. It's convenient because if you need something, it's just easy for me to pop in or like I said, I work in town, so it's easy for me to pop over real quick," Kylie said.

This worked out great when she was very sick in the beginning of her pregnancy.

"I came in to get IVs because I was so dehydrated along with antinausea medication through the IV," Kylie said.

Being so close to the clinic makes it easy for her husband to go with her to appointments.

"It's hard for him to pop away sometimes. He has cattle and livestock and kinds of things that it can just be like, okay it's a half hour appointment. You barely have to take any time out of your day because it's right in town," she said.

The Milbank hospital offers a full spectrum of OB services, which includes prenatal visits, monitoring, testing, ultrasounds, and C-Section delivery for low-risk patients.

Dr. Paul Denna said making every appointment is very important for expecting moms.

"The reason we're doing that is we're monitoring all the indicators that could say there's a potential problem in the pregnancy," Dr. Denna said.

He has patients that drive an hour to come in for care.

"One of the first things they say is please don't send me anywhere else. Please let me deliver here. Obviously, if it makes sense and is safe, then we try to accommodate that as best we can," he said.

As long as it's not a high-risk pregnancy, doctors can deliver in Milbank.

"By far, most people want to stay by their home because that's where they're comfortable. And just knowing that yeah, I can deliver the baby safely here, It's a huge relief for them," Dr. Denna said.

That was one of the things Kylie was so excited for.

"I personally know some of the people that work here," she said. "You just know you're going to get treated how they would treat their family."

And it makes it easier for blood family to come and visit when you deliver close to home. Since KSFY spoke to Kylie, she delivered baby Kalli Jo Mielitz on February 22nd. Kalli entered the world weight 7 lbs. 10 oz.

Dr. Denna said OB care keeps a lot of other services at the hospital. When that care goes away, it can have a domino effect of just turning into a long-term care facility.