SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – As birth rates across the country decline, one hospital in the Miami Valley is celebrating a surge in babies born in their care.

Mercy Health – Springfield Regional Medical Center is reporting a 20 percent boost in births so far this year.

“We’re thrilled to see the increase,” Dr. Shaw Osterholt, director of obstetrics at Mercy Health – Springfield, said.

From January to March this year, Mercy Health – Springfield safely delivered 301 babies. Compare that to last year, when there were 246 births within the same time frame.

“The news has been following, the government’s been following, you know, maternal morbidity and mortality across the United States, and I think any little improvement we can do is going to decrease those numbers,” Osterholt said.

Osterholt said the facility is striving to be “mom-centric” by offering programs, practices and support that expecting mothers need close to home.

“Keeping that here locally is so much easier for patients sometimes than driving to Columbus, driving to Dayton and driving to Centerville,” Osterholt said.

Within the last year, Mercy Health – Springfield implemented a policy that allows women in labor to bypass the emergency room waiting area. The hospital has partnered with Ohio State for a maternal fetal medicine program to help women experiencing high-risk pregnancies.

They’ve also implemented a midwifery program, which Osterholt said has been a real success.

“Some patients like physicians, some patients are going to like midwives or, you know, a combination of both and just gives patients another option,” Osterholt said.

Springfield Regional also offers educational classes for new and returning mothers focused on childbirth, breastfeeding and baby care. Osterholt said Mercy Health – Springfield’s goal is to deliver the type of care patients want, so their patients can focus on their own delivery.

“Labor is not a one size fits all process,” Osterholt said. “The needs and wants of patients is not the same with every patient.”

The health system is currently looking into expanding women’s care options in Enon, Urbana and London, according to a release.