Promise Community Health Center prenatal care team

Promise Community Health Center prenatal care team
Promise Community Health Center's midwifery care team consists of (standing) certified nurse midwives Belinda Lassen and Pam Hulstein and their support team, clinical assistant/interpreter Ruth Hernandez and registered nurses Erica Robertson and Kari Ney.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Meet the latest Promise baby: Noah!

Noah Emmanuel, son of Matt and Heather Siebert of Yankton, SD, was born Sunday, Oct. 11, in a home birth, weighing 8 pounds, 4 ounces. He has two siblings, Ben, 4, and Evie, 2. The family received its prenatal care from the midwifery team at Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center.

Heather Siebert holds her baby, Noah
Emmanuel, during an appointment at
Promise Community Health Center
in Sioux Center.
Baby Noah

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Meet the latest Promise baby!

Anna Marie, daughter of Joni and Jeremy Spaans of Rock Valley, was born Wednesday, Oct. 7, in a home birth, weighing 9 pounds, 6 ounces, and measuring 21.5 inches long. Three proud brothers welcomed her into their home. The family received its prenatal care from the midwifery team at Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center.

Joni Spaans holds her baby, Anna Marie,
during a checkup at Promise Community
Health Center in Sioux Center.
Baby Anna Marie

Monday, October 12, 2015

Midwifery program continues to grow at Promise

by Kari Ney
It’s time to give an update on what our midwifery team at Promise Community Health Center has been busy with these past few months.

In May of this year, we initiated a childbirth preparation curriculum in Spanish. We found there was a need for prenatal and childbirth education in our community as local hospitals have great programs in English but nothing established for our Spanish-speaking population.

Registered nurse Kari Ney leads a Spanish Childbirth
Education Class at Promise Community Health Center
in Sioux Center. Medical Assistant/interpreter
Ruth Hernandez helped out with the course.

We utilize the InJoy curriculum. The “Understanding Pregnancy” booklet is given out early in the pregnancy along with other important handouts to better prepare our moms for the exciting adventure of growing a baby.

“Understanding Birth” is the childbirth preparation booklet, and we have an interactive DVD in Spanish that we utilize in a two-session class lead by registered nurse Kari Ney and medical assistant/interpreter Ruth Hernandez. When clients are not able to attend the scheduled sessions, an express version is offered where the expecting parents can get the most important education in a condensed amount of time. Our goal is to better prepare parents for this journey and alleviate fear that can often lead to an increase in pain and interventions.

Our home-birth practice has also been growing these last few months as more women seek to continue with midwifery care for their birthing experience.

While midwife prenatal care is education driven, we are also planning to provide a birthing preparation class for our home birth parents and those interested in natural birthing. This opportunity is scheduled for 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, in the Promise community education room. Lunch will be provided. If you would like more details on this, please contact Kari at 712-722-1700. We welcome you to come to this class if you are interested in natural birth, home birth or the midwifery model of care concept.

We are excited more women are able to utilize midwives for home births in our area. Certified nurse midwives Belinda Lassen and Pam Hulstein are licensed to practice and provide the home-birth option in Iowa and South Dakota. It is important that women and families have a safe and satisfying alternative to hospital birth using the midwifery model of care.

Growth is happening here at Promise as we strive to provide exceptional care to all women and their families! Come and check us out!

Promise Community Health Center, headquartered in Sioux Center, Iowa, is the only Federally Qualified Health Center in the far northwest corner of Iowa. To learn more, visit

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Meet the latest Promise baby!

Lili, daughter of Samuel and Lori De Groot of Sanborn, was born Monday, Sept. 28, in a home birth, weighing 7 pounds, 10 ounces, and measuring 22 inches. The family received its prenatal care from the midwifery team at Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center.

Lori De Groot holds her baby
during a checkup at Promise
Community Health Center
in Sioux Center.
Baby Lili

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Meet the latest Promise baby!

Cohen, son of Josiah and Melissa Christoffer of Sioux Falls, SD, was born Thursday, Oct. 1, in a home birth, weighing 6 pounds, 12 ounces, and measuring 20 inches. They came to Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center for the midwifery model of prenatal care. Cohen has an older sister, Cali, who is nearly 3 years old.

Parents Josiah and Melissa Christoffer and sister,
Cali, hold their baby, Cohen, during a checkup at
Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center.
Baby Cohen

Monday, May 18, 2015

Meet the latest Promise baby!

William, son of Tim and Janel McFarland of Spencer, was born Sunday, April 26, 2015, weighing 8 pounds, 6 ounces, and measuring 22 inches. He has an older sister, Aubrey, 4.

Mother Janel McFarland holds her baby boy, William, during a
checkup at Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center.

Baby William

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Meet the latest Promise baby!

Anneliese, daughter of Ryan and Molly Dowell Baum of Sioux City, was born Thursday, April 30, with the assistance of certified nurse midwives in their home. She weighed 8 pounds, 4 ounces, and measured 23 inches.

Baby Anneliese was born April 30 to Ryan and Molly
Dowell Baum. She has an older brother, Dietrich.

Baby Anneliese

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Childbirth education class to be offered in Spanish

SIOUX CENTER – Spanish-speaking women haven’t had the opportunity to take childbirth education classes in their own language in the Sioux Center area before.

Registered nurse Kari Ney of Promise Community
Health Center will teach a two-session childbirth
education class for Spanish-speaking women, their
spouse or other support person with the help of
clinical assistant/interpreter Ruth Hernandez.
They do now.

Promise Community Health Center of Sioux Center will offer a two-session childbirth education class in Spanish at 6:30 p.m. on two consecutive Tuesdays, April 28 and May 5, at Central Reformed Church, 113 N. Main Ave., Sioux Center.

The class will be taught by registered nurse Kari Ney of Promise with the help of clinical assistant/interpreter Ruth Hernandez.

Ruth Hernandez will provide
interpretation services for a
childbirth education class
for Spanish speakers.
The class is free for Promise patients, but it is open to any Spanish-speaking women in the community. A $20 donation is suggested for other participants, but no one will be turned away for inability to pay. Please register in advance by Thursday, April 23, by calling Promise at 712-722-1700.

“It’s a huge need,” Ney said, noting that childbirth classes only have been offered in English in the area in the past. “It’s open for anyone who goes to any hospital. Anyone is welcome and can come.”

The class is ideal for women who are five months along or later in their pregnancy, their spouse or any other support person. Topics that will be covered during the two sessions include pregnancy, labor, comfort techniques, medical procedures, cesarean birth, newborn baby care, postpartum health and breastfeeding.

“A huge, huge topic is breastfeeding,” Ney said. “There are so many misconceptions about breastfeeding in the Hispanic community. To get that established in their language before the baby even arrives, that will provide the biggest help.”

Ney said Promise hopes to offer the childbirth education classes quarterly if they are well-received.

“That way, we will reach as many moms as we can throughout their pregnancy throughout the year,” she said.

Promise Community Health Center, headquartered in Sioux Center, is the only Federally Qualified Health Center in the far northwest corner of Iowa. To learn more, visit

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Northwestern students head up Baby Bundles drive

SIOUX CENTER – Northwestern College seniors Laura Huls and Allysa (Duren) Michael realized they did not have to go far to do cross-cultural mission work.

They only had to travel 12 miles from their Orange City campus to Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center.

Promise Community Health Center clinical assistant
Ruth Hernandez  packs Baby Bundles with items that
were collected and donated through a drive led by
seniors Laura Huls and Allysa Michael for their nursing
program at Northwestern College in Orange City.

And most of the work could be done on campus.

To graduate with their bachelor of science in nursing degree, Northwestern nursing students are required to complete a cross-cultural mission project. Huls and Michael joined forces to do a Baby Bundles drive by collecting items and raising funds to fill bags that will be given to mothers of Promise babies prior to the birth of their child.

I have been around the world doing missions, and one thing that it has taught me is that there is need everywhere including close to home,” Huls said. “I really enjoyed touring Promise for a clinical requirement in our community health class and decided that my mission was going to be close to home as many people from other cultures benefit from the wonderful care Promise provides.”

After corresponding with Promise clinic manager Brittany Hamm about the project, Huls and Michael set their drive for the month of February. They hung flyers around campus and sent out a campuswide email. They set out collection baskets in four areas on campus. They hosted several meetings and shopping trips to gather donations. Huls and her sister, Sarah, and Michael and her husband, Chris, hosted a Trash for Cash project where they went to every room in the girls’ dorms to take out trash for a donation to the cause.
Laura Huls
They collected $131 in cash from the girls’ dorms, about 150 diapers, at least 45 articles of newborn clothes, five homemade baby blankets, several packages of baby wipes, several teething rings, a few baby books, and miscellaneous items such as pacifiers, bottle nipples, diaper cream, baby shampoo and bath supplies. They also had a women’s group from Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Royal donate $200 directly to the Promise’s baby bundles program.

Huls said the project was “a great success.”

“The drive was fun to initiate, especially in the girls’ dorms on campus because what college girl walks past the baby section in a store and doesn’t want to buy something,” she said. “I was even able to take a few girls shopping with me one day, and the baby section of Walmart was hopping for a solid 45 minutes. It was great to see a student response to the needs of the community they had never realized before.”
Allysa Michael

Huls thinks the community has a high need for early involvement in health care for needy families. She has been on several home visits and has seen firsthand what some families go through just to clothe their children.

Therefore, she thinks the Baby Bundles project will make an impact.

“I believe that the small number of items we were able to collect will be able to bless families with a sense of Shalom or peace for a while,” Huls said. “They will provide comfort, warmth, nurturing and a sense that someone cares for them like we do. I know that those who receive these gifts will appreciate them to the fullest and that Promise will use them to increase the excellent standards of health care that we want to provide to all regardless of ability to pay.”

Hamm said it was a pleasure to work with Huls and Michael on the project.

“They were passionate about the families we serve through our prenatal program, and that enthusiasm fueled their collection of the items and creating awareness about the families we serve,” Hamm said. “The donations they collected will bless many new babies and families and give them a great start to life.”

Promise Community Health Center, headquartered in Sioux Center, Iowa, is the only Federally Qualified Health Center in the far northwest corner of Iowa. To learn more, visit


Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center started the Baby Bundles project in the summer of 2013 based on a program in Finland.

Clinic manager Brittany Hamm said Promise staff realized that some families need help with preparing for a new baby, but the research shows that all families – no matter their income or health insurance status – can benefit from receiving a care package with necessary items for preparing for a baby.

“Promise was enthusiastic about getting a program started, so we sent a letter to area churches and organizations, asking for their help,” Hamm said. “The response and support was overwhelming, and the project took off.”

Promise staff sorts the donated items, packs the bundles and distributes them to all expectant mothers prior to the birth of their baby.

To participate in the Baby Bundles project, contact Promise at 712-722-1700.


  • Gently worn or new newborn Onesies and sleepers;
  • Newborn diapers;
  • Baby wipes;
  • Baby blankets;
  • Diaper cream;
  • Baby shampoo and lotion;
  • Picture books;
  • Teething toys;
  • Newborn hats, socks and other items.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Meet the latest Promise baby!

Jose was born Thursday, March 26, weighing 7 pounds and measuring 19 1/2 inches.

Baby Jose is held by his mother during a checkup at
Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center.
Baby Jose

Friday, March 27, 2015

Considering breastfeeding supply and demand

by Kari Ney, RN
One of the most frustrating things when you are breastfeeding is how to increase your milk supply. This is the time when many decide to stop breastfeeding because it appears baby is so hungry and wants to eat all the time. The prevailing thought that crosses an exhausted mama’s mind is, “I must not be making enough; it must be my fault; breastfeeding must not be working for me!”

Nurse Kari Ney holds twin girls Alaina and
Hope at Promise Community Health
Center in Sioux Center.
Our words of wisdom today are to encourage and petition you to keep feeding that baby! Your body is made for this! It is normal at about two weeks, six weeks and again at three months -- give or take a few weeks -- for babies to stimulate you to make more milk because they know they need more as they grow.

Every time a baby nurses, the breast knows it needs to replace that amount for the next feeding. So the minute the babe is done nursing, your body goes to work and begins to produce that same amount for the next time (supply). As babies grow, they need a certain amount to keep them satisfied and nourished (demand).

During a growth spurt, babies demand more supply by nursing more often, therefore telling your body to make more milk for their growing needs. For some moms, this increased demand only lasts about a day or two for the body to recognize it and catch up. The demand is met by allowing your babe to nurse when he or she needs to. Sometimes that looks like nursing every 45 minutes to an hour all day or night, and it can be exhausting!

We encourage you to be patient and allow your babe to nurse on demand. What you are providing is the best nourishment there is for your baby!

Here is a link to discussion about supply issues by Le Leche League. It is a wonderful resource for all things breastfeeding!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

What is evidence-based maternity care?

by Belinda Lassen, CNM, ARNP
Certified nurse midwife Belinda Lassen
holds baby Lidia during a checkup at
Promise Community Health Center.
According to, evidence-based maternity care are practices that have been shown by the highest quality, most current medical evidence to be most beneficial to mothers and babies with care tailored to the individual.

Did you know that in the United States the majority of women in labor are attached to an electronic fetal monitor? This will often limit the mother’s ability to move about, walk and, in turn, limit her ability to manage her pain. Research has shown us over and over that routine and continuous monitoring can increase the need for pain medication and C-sections, without making birth safer for mom or baby.

The lower-cost, scientifically proven, better option is to offer intermittent auscultation. Using this option allows the mom to be out of bed and mobile. Evidence-based maternity care has shown that listening to the baby’s heartbeat with the Doppler intermittently has the best outcomes.

So, moms, ask for intermittent auscultation! Some labors will require continuous monitoring, such as an induction using the drug Pitocin or other conditions where there are more risk factors. If your pregnancy has been healthy, and your labor is normal, we would highly recommend that you get out of bed and walk, rock, soak, bounce or dance through your labor!

For more great evidence-based information, click on to these websites: and

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Meet the latest Promise baby!

Anthony was born Tuesday, Feb. 10, weighing 7 pounds, 8 ounces and measuring 21 inches.

Nurse Kari Ney listens to baby Anthony's heartbeat during a
checkup at Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Chia seeds are packed with proven health benefits

by Kari Ney

Chia seeds. Are they a fad food? What are they good for?

In our clinic at Promise Community Health Center, we talk chia almost every day.

Did you know these tiny, black-and-white seeds -- formerly known only as starter to growing your favorite Chia Pet purchased from a late night infomercial -- actually have dietary value?

Let’s start with: What are they?
Kari Ney

Chia seeds are an unprocessed, whole-grain food and pack a punch of nutritional worth.

One ounce -- about 2 tablespoons -- contains 139 calories, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams fat, 12 grams carbohydrates and 11 grams of fiber, plus vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron and niacin. They contain omega-3 antioxidants and claim they can help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure among other health benefits.

So how do the Promise midwives use Chia seeds?

As we are proponents of evidence-based care, we have witnessed the evidence in the numbers.

During pregnancy, iron is one of the numbers we keep our eye on. Your iron level or hemoglobin in your blood determines how well oxygenated you and your baby are.

Another term you may hear is anemia, or you may be told you are anemic. Your symptoms may be lack of energy or fatigue and sometimes shortness of breath. Adding an iron supplement to your prenatal vitamin is one way to boost the level, but this often comes with side effects such as constipation and upset stomach.

By adding chia seeds and iron-rich foods to the diet, we have seen iron levels jump an entire point in two weeks for many of our patients!

How do you eat Chia seeds?

Chia can be eaten in a variety of ways. Here are some great ideas to get these seeds into your diet: Toss them dry on your salad to add a little crunch. Add them to granola. Put them in pudding, or make chia pudding using 1 cup of sweetened almond or coconut milk and add 1 tablespoon of seeds, let the seeds plump and thicken. Make chia fresca -- add 1 tablespoon to 8 ounces of fruit juice and let sit about 15 minutes.

Seeds will take on the flavor of what you put them in as they swell when wet and are a lot like the texture of tapioca. Add to soups or sauces, or bake in breads.

The possibilities are endless!

For more information on chia seeds, check out these articles: and

Meet the latest Promise baby!

Lidia was born Tuesday, Feb. 10, weighing 6 pounds, 4 ounces.

Jefferson, 6, proudly looks at his baby sister, Lidia, as
clinical assistant Ruth Hernandez listens to her heartbeat
at Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center.


Friday, February 13, 2015

What is the midwifery model of care?

Certified nurse midwife Pam Hulstein
holds a baby who was recently born
and came in for a regular checkup.
by Kari Ney

Are you thinking of having a baby? Where are you seeking prenatal care? What is the difference? What are my options?
Kari Ney

So many questions in this exciting time!

Did you know that Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center has offered the midwifery model of care to northwest Iowa for six years?

The midwifery model of care includes prenatal visits and hands-on care throughout labor, birth and right after. This model results in less chance of complications, fewer interventions and a healthier birth for you and your baby. More and more women in the United States are learning that pregnancy and childbirth are normal, healthy processes, not diseases.

In their 40 combined years of midwifery, Belinda Lassen, certified nurse midwife, and Pam Hulstein, CNM, have safely delivered thousands of babies in following this model of care. In addition to prenatal care, they also provide newborn exams, well-woman health exams, family planning and fertility counseling. Currently, the midwives do not assist with births in the local hospitals but do offer home birth as a safe alternative.

The midwifery care team at Promise encourages women to be partners in their health care and to be educated about their choices when it comes to prenatal and birth care. We welcome detailed questions and respect your informed decisions.

In 2014 alone, 148 women came to Promise seeking the midwife approach for prenatal care. Some women even drive up to 90 miles to come to their prenatal visit with Pam and Belinda. We welcome you to come and find out for yourself what a wonderful difference the midwifery model of care is!

Here are some resources for you to learn more about the midwifery model of care: and