Maternity Center at Mercy Council Bluffs Receives Makeover

CHI Health Mercy Council Bluffs has put a new face on its maternity center.

“The hospital has renovated seven of its maternity suites,” said Joanna Smith, Director of the hospital’s maternity center. “We have further enhanced the environment for an average of 400 newborns and their families we care for each year.”

CHI Health Mercy Council Bluffs has served the residents of Council Bluffs, Iowa, and the surrounding communities of Southwest Iowa since 1887. CHI Health Mercy Council Bluffs has served patients from across the state and the Midwest, with 78% of patients from Pottawattamie County and neighboring Harrison and Mills counties. 

This renovation is a top-to-bottom refresh of the maternity center to create the best patient-centered atmosphere for expecting moms and their babies. The redesign incorporates hotel-like amenities, inviting and aesthetically pleasing rooms, with one-of-a-kind paintings and hidden medical equipment, and new Panda Warmers supported by the CHI Health Foundation.

The CHI Health Foundation supported the renovation efforts by securing over $35,000 in funding from Variety - The Children’s Charity of Iowa to purchase additional Panda Warming systems. Panda Warmers are used immediately after delivery to stabilize newborns, take vital signs, and perform the crucial first assessment. This state-of-the-art equipment is used throughout the patient's stay with an array of features that provide the safest, most comprehensive care possible. The project also includes queen birthing beds, new furnishings, new flooring, and enhanced medical birthing lights. 

“Bathrooms are now equipped with tubs with whirlpools,” Smith said. “They can be used for pain management, as well as relaxation. Water temperature can be set from a smartphone, and showers can be voice-activated. All moms receive a robe and slippers they can take home with them after their stay.”.

“We are incredibly grateful for funding through Variety,” CHI Health Development Officer Abby Jares said. “Panda Warmers are essential to the care of newborns and allow mom and baby to stay together throughout the entire hospital stay because of the elevated care this equipment provides.”  

The unit’s special care nursery has now been equipped with a ventilator and a telehealth monitor, Smith said.

“We are equipped to handle three babies with Level 2 care,” she said. “Our telehealth monitor allows us to consult a provider at CHI Health CUMC - Bergan Mercy’s NICU while the mother and baby stay together at Mercy Council Bluffs.” 

There are also new, larger monitors in front of the nurses station, with one showing the heartbeats of mothers and unborn babies, one showing the view from all of the unit’s security cameras and one showing the operating room schedule. Mothers can be given monitors to wear on their stomachs that send signals to a wireless transmitter, which relays the data to the heartbeat monitor.

“They can get up and walk without wires,” Smith said. “A huge patient satisfier.” 

“Even if the patients are not in their room, they are still on our monitor,” CHI Health Women’s Clinic OB/GYN Dr. Meaghan Shanahan explained. “It’s a team effort to provide the best experience for our expecting moms and newborns.”


For more information on Mercy Council Bluff’s maternity services or to take a tour of the center, please contact Abby Jares at (712) 328-5372 or