Women's Health

Providing access to maternal care in rural communities

As hospital obstetric units are closing across America, providing access to maternal care in rural communities is becoming a great concern.

Veronica Taber, a school teacher and livestock farmer living in Cambridge, Illinois, knows that concern all too well. She didn’t want to risk driving a long distance to Peoria or the Quad Cities to deliver and for routine appointments.

“When you live in such a rural area, the thought of, ‘Are you going to make it in time,’ is nerve wracking,” she said.

Care in your community

Veronica, Vivianne, and Tucker Taber

Enter Cathy Cook, a certified nurse midwife. Cathy sees patients at OSF HealthCare St. Mary Medical Center in Galesburg.

Veronica saw Cathy throughout her pregnancy, and delivered her son, Tucker, now 9, at OSF St. Mary, which serves as the birthing center for the three OSF HealthCare hospitals in the Western Region that also includes OSF HealthCare Saint Luke in Kewanee and OSF HealthCare Holy Family Medical Center in Monmouth.

Three Galesburg-based obstetricians and two certified nurse midwives provide care in all three of the communities.

“Finding someone like Cathy made it easier going through the pregnancy,” Veronica said.

So when she became pregnant with her second child, Vivianne, Veronica naturally returned to Cathy.

“Having them so close makes it less stressful. I didn’t have to worry about the long commute to bigger cities,” she said. “You’re working with staff who know you because they’re from the area. They always make me feel so welcome.”

Celebrating the Gift of Life

Roxanna Crosser, chief executive officer, Western Region, said providing access to obstetrical care is an important part of the OSF Mission.

“At OSF St. Mary, we’re very fortunate to have birthing center capabilities within our community. A lot of the rural communities may not have that, and that is something that is so important to our Mission,” she said. “When we talk about our Mission of serving persons with the greatest care and love, in a community that celebrates the Gift of Life. That very beginning of life is very, very important and to be able to have that service locally within Galesburg and the surrounding markets is very important.”

“It’s truly important to have OB services locally, within our community. It truly is important to keep that service local – for moms to stay closer to home.”

To learn more about the obstetrical care in the Western Region, visit osfhealthcare.org/services/pregnancy-birth.

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