Birth Center

If you are pregnant, or are thinking about starting a family, you will have to make many decisions. One of the most important is where to have your baby.

We take care of every aspect of maternity care, from making expectant mothers and fathers feel at home, to offering classes on prenatal care, infant CPR, and classes for the new baby’s siblings.

From our one-to-one labor and delivery nursing, to our private, home-like suites, PACHS’s dedicated OB team and support staff pay close attention to every detail of your stay, safely and compassionately guide you through the birth of your little one. Palo Alto County Hospital physicians Jason Patton, M.D. and Daunyale Sporaa, D.O. are all trained and have years of experience in obstetrics and look forward to making this event as special as you hope it will be.

At Palo Alto County Hospital, it is our privilege and joy to treat every birth as the most important event in the world.

Hospital Birth Center

  • Address

    3201 1st St Emmetsburg, IA 50536

  • Department Hours

    Monday - Friday 7:00 am - 5:00 pm

  • Visiting Hours: Fathers

    Fathers or support person are welcome to stay anytime.

  • Visiting Hours: Family

    Grandparents & immediate family visiting hours are 10:00 am - 7:00 pm

  • Visiting Hours: Friends

    Friends and other visitors are welcome 11:00 am - 7:00 pm.

About Our Birth Center

The Birth Center at Palo Alto County Hospital features three birthing suites, private bathrooms with whirlpool tubs. The birthing suites are Labor, Delivery, Recovery and Postpartum (LDRP) rooms so the family stays in the same room during their entire stay. The department is private and secure, allowing families the opportunity to truly enjoy the experience without feeling like they are in the hospital.

At Palo Alto County Hospital, we are dedicated to meeting the needs of each patient. We ensure a great family experience by offering a warm, home-like atmosphere for your baby’s birth. Specially trained nurses provide sensitive, supportive and personalized care in a family-centered manner throughout your stay in our birthing rooms.

At Palo Alto County Hospital’s Birth Center, you will find:

  • Advanced infant security system for your peace of mind.
  • Electronic medical charting and state-of-the art central fetal monitors provide the most up-to-date technology for your safety and that of your baby.
  • Physicians and nurses nationally certified in electronic fetal monitoring.
  • Experienced nurses giving personalized, around-the-clock care for both mother and baby.
  • Pain management options.
  • Private rooms with sleeping accommodations for your partner and rooming-in for your newborn.
  • Breast-feeding support from licensed lactation consultants
  • One-on-one staffing during active labor.
  • Support for your choice of birth plan.
  • Relationships with regional medical centers if your infant should need specialized care after birth.
  • Wireless Internet access.
  • Complimentary baby gift from PACHS
  • Free birth certificate and hearing screen.
  • Home care visits, if recommended by your physician, to care for your needs once you arrive home.
  • Breastfeeding Clinics where you can find answers from experienced nurses.


The Birth Center Tour

Palo Alto County Hospital’s Birth Center offers you spacious, private rooms decorated to feel “just like home.” Designed for the privacy and comfort of you and your family, they include a TV, casual seating, table and chairs for your private after-delivery meal and a quiet, comforting decor. The Birth Center staff welcomes expecting mothers and their family to call for a tour of the OB department where you can also meet our qualified staff. 

On your first OB visit, you may tour the Birth Center, meet our staff and you may even get a peek at some of our new arrivals! After the tour, enjoy a complimentary copy of the book “What to Expect While Your Expecting.”

If you wish to make a tour appointment, call Palo Alto County Hospital at 712.852.5500.

Choosing a Physician

Prenatal care is one of the most important things you can do for your new baby. Morning sickness (anytime of the day), frequent urination and absence of menstruation are some first signs of pregnancy. If you think you are pregnant, you should schedule an appointment with your physician. Ideally, your first appointment should be within 8 to 12 weeks of your pregnancy. Each month you will have a check-up with your physician, monitoring your health and the health of your developing baby.

Dietary Consultations for nutritional needs, before and during pregnancy, are available with a Registered Dietitian at Palo Alto County Hospital. Call 712.852.5425 for more information.

Our Birth Center Physicians

To schedule an appointment closest to you, please call one of our Family Practice Clinics

Emmetsburg Clinic

  • Hours

    Monday - Friday 7:00 am - 5:00 pm

Graettinger Clinic

  • Hours

    Monday - Friday 7:00 am - 5:00 pm

West Bend Clinic

  • Hours

    Monday - Friday 7:00 am - 5:00 pm

Hospital Birth Center

  • Address

    3201 1st St Emmetsburg, IA 50536

  • Department Hours

    Monday - Friday 7:00 am - 5:00 pm

  • Visiting Hours: Fathers

    Fathers or support person are welcome to stay anytime.

  • Visiting Hours: Family

    Grandparents & immediate family visiting hours are 10:00 am - 7:00 pm

  • Visiting Hours: Friends

    Friends and other visitors are welcome 11:00 am - 7:00 pm.

Prenatal Care & Birthing Services

Palo Alto County Health System offers the best in prenatal care and birthing services in the Emmetsburg, Iowa area. We can’t wait to help you on your pregnancy journey.

Birthing Services

Checking into the Hospital

The time has arrived and you begin to go into labor! Everything is set into motion. When labor begins you should call the hospital and ask to talk to the OB nurse. She will ask you questions such as the frequency and severity of your contractions. If she determines that it is time for you to come to the hospital, you'll check in at the Admissions desk and then be transferred to the OB department. The OB nurse will access your progress and notify your physician that you have been admitted to the hospital. Your progress through labor and the health of you and your baby will be monitored throughout your labor. You should have already discussed with your physician your childbirth and pain-control options and preferences. Each labor and delivery is different and we work with you to make your delivery special and unique to your needs and desires.

Pain Control Options

When it comes to using pain-control options in childbirth, most women fall into one of three categories. Those who are certain they will want pain relief, those who are unsure of their pain relief options and how these options will affect their labor and delivery; and those who would prefer to give birth without any pain relief. No matter which category you fall into it is important for you to know how anesthesia and pain relief is used in labor and delivery. No two women experience childbirth in quite the same way, so it is important to know your options and discuss them with your physician. There are many options for pain-control at Palo Alto County Hospital including local anesthesia, narcotics or tranquilizers, intrathecal injections, and spinals. How you and your baby will be effected by each choice is something you should discuss with your physician or anesthetist.

After Delivery

Immediately following the actual birth, your baby will stay with you in the delivery room for those first exciting introductions. And prior to returning to your room, your baby will get its first check-up and bath. This is a special time for you and your family as bonding begins with your new family member. The staff will help you with this important process. After delivery, the OB staff gives you the option of keeping your baby with you in your room or having the baby cared for by the staff in the nursery while you rest. Either way, you and your baby's health and wellness will be monitored throughout your stay. Each private OB room is equipped with TV/VCR's so you can watch teaching videos on the care of your new baby. One-on-one teaching is provided by the OB staff in the privacy of your own room. The teaching consists of a newborn baby bath demonstration, showing proper handling and care of a newborn, as well as information on safety, health and wellness, and understanding your infants developmental needs. You will receive written material on the care of a newborn as well as information on changes you may experience as a new mom. In celebration of your baby's birth, a special meal is served to you and a guest, compliments of Palo Alto County Hospital. This meal is served in the privacy of your own room. A first baby picture is taken, sponsored by Iowa Trust & Savings Bank. When you are ready to go home, you will need an infant car seat for the safety of your baby. If you do not bring your own, a rental car seat is available from the OB department.

Newborn Hearing Tests

All infants born at Palo Alto County Hospital have their hearing tested at 24-36 hours of age. A newborn hearing test is important so children with hearing problems can be helped before speech and development are impaired. Test results are passed on the Area Education Agency who can perform future testing when needed.


Prenatal & Childbirth Classes

Starting a family is an exciting adventure and a rewarding experience. The childbirth education classes are meant to help prepare you for the labor and delivery process as well as the care of the newborn. The sessions encourage couples participation with coaches taking an active part in the experience.

Classes, held six times a year (January, March, May, July, September, November), cover a wide range of topics including prenatal care and nutrition, prepared childbirth, labor and delivery, infant care and safety. A tour of Palo Alto County Hospital’s Birth Center introduces you to our spacious private home-like rooms and familiarizes you with the Birth Center staff and the nursery.


Classes are free for mothers and coaches who deliver at Palo Alto County Hospital. 

For others the class fee is $30.00. 

There is a $5.00 fee for materials for all attendees.


Part 1: Pregnancy in the 3rd Trimester

  • Nutrition
  • Signs of Labor

Part 2: Stages of Labor

  • Comfort Measures
  • Birth Center Tour

Part 3: Pain Medications

  • Medical Interventions
  • Cesarean Birth

Part 4: Postpartum Cares

  • Newborn Procedures
  • Breast Feeding

Part 5: Newborn Care & Safety

  • Review
  • Family Planning
  • At Home Postpartum Tips
  • Guest Speaker



Sibling Classes

Sibling Classes for Children to Prepare for a New Brother or Sister

To register for an upcoming class, call Community Health Services at 712.852.5419.

Checklist Before Hospitalization

Here is some helpful information to review before your hospitalization at PACHS.

  • 1. Insurance Coverage

    Check with your insurance company about hospitalization requirements and notifications. Also inquire whether a postpartum home visit by Public Health nurses is covered.

  • 2. Delivery Options

    Discuss delivery options and pain-control options with your physician.

  • 3. Family Arrangements

    Make arrangements for your other children when you are in labor. Also arrange for help for the first few days when you return home from the hospital.

  • 4. Going Home With Baby

    Pack a carseat and clothes for the baby's trip home.

  • 5. Maternity Leave

    If you work, check with your employer about your maternity leave policy. Also look into day care options for when you return to work.

Peek-A-Boo Imaging

Waiting for the arrival of your new baby is a time of excitement and wonder.

Palo Alto County Hospital’s Peek-a-Boo Obstetrical Imaging offers a wonderful opportunity for you and your loved ones to see and bond with your baby before he or she is born.

Using state-of-the-art ultrasound imaging equipment, you and your family will watch your baby on a large LCD flat panel in our ultrasound suite. Peek-a-Boo ultrasound sessions are performed by the same sonographer(s) that perform all of our diagnostic ultrasound examinations.

Help When You Return Home

The first days home with a new baby are a joyous time, filled with wonder for the new family. To support you during these first new days, a Community Health Nurse will visit you for a postpartum visit. The nurse can reassure you, answering health and wellness questions about you and your baby.

Growing Healthy Kids

Growing Healthy Kids, Palo Alto County, is a home visitation program to assist families during pregnancy and after the birth of your baby. The program is facilitated by Palo Alto County Community Health.

The Growing Healthy Kids Program Will:

What Can The Growing Healthy Kids Program Do For My Family?

A Registered Nurse will:

  • Make home visits during your pregnancy and/or after the birth of your baby.
  • Offer support, guidance and answer questions on your baby’s health, safety, growth and development.
  • Provide information on immunizations for your baby.
  • Provide ongoing support to your family for a healthy relationship between you and your child.
  • Inform your family of community resources.

For More Information About Growing Healthy Kids, Call Palo Alto County Community Health