Hannibal Regional News

Hannibal Regional Healthcare System News Archive

Celebrating National Women’s Health Week Bookmark

May 12 - 18, 2019 is National Women’s Health Week.  Every year during National Women’s Health Week millions of women take steps to improve their health.  The week serves as a reminder for women to make their health a priority and build positive healthy habits for life.  

Each year women should check off several tests and screenings to ensure their good health - including a visit with their primary care physician.  “Having an annual health visit is a great opportunity to take charge of your health. Annual wellness visits can help detect problems early or prevent issues before they occur,” shares Dr. Laura Maple, OB/GYN at Hannibal Regional Medical Group. “If issues are found early they will be easier to treat and will be more likely to lead to successful outcomes.”

Other things women can do to live healthier lifestyles are to get active and eat healthy.  Good nutrition is especially important for older adults, so it is important to pay attention to serving sizes and how to eat better for heart health.  Being active doesn’t necessarily require going to a gym, there are many other options to help you stay fit and strong. “Eating better and increasing physical activity can be overwhelming if you try to do it all at once.  Setting small goals and building on them once you’ve achieved them will help you maintain them long term,” says Dr. Maple. “As women, we often put the comfort and well-being of others before ourselves. It is important to remember to take time to set new goals and work towards a healthier lifestyle.”

To contact Hannibal Regional Medical Group’s Women’s Health physicians call (573) 629-3500.


Hannibal Regional Hosts “Ladies Night Out” Bookmark

Hannibal Regional Hosts “Ladies Night Out”


Hannibal, MO -- In celebration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Hannibal Regional is pleased to offer special screenings in October to assist women in taking steps to enjoy healthy living.

For your convenience, Hannibal Regional’s Radiology Department will host “Ladies Night Out” - a special after-hours program for women to keep current with their annual mammogram.  Light refreshments will be served and a specialty gift bag will be given out. 

Hannibal Regional offers 3D mammography exams developed by Hologic, Inc., a worldwide leader in Women’s Health. Utilizing advanced breast tomosynthesis technology, these exams are clinically proven to significantly increase the detection of breast cancers, while simultaneously decreasing the number of women asked to return for additional testing.

For certain women at high risk for breast cancer, an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the breast offers valuable information about many breast conditions that cannot be obtained by other imaging methods such as mammography or ultrasound.  Hannibal Regional now offers this choice in the latest technologies in breast cancer testing.   An MRI with dedicated breast coils uses a powerful magnetic field and radio frequency pulses to produce detailed pictures of inside the breast to help measure the size of cancer, look for additional tumors and check the lymph nodes to see if cancer has spread.  A breast MRI is also used for evaluating lumpectomy sites in the years following breast cancer treatment to determine the difference between scar tissue and a recurrence of cancer. Additionally, a breast MRI is the best test for determining whether silicone implants have ruptured.

The American College of Radiology recommends yearly screening mammograms for women aged 40 or older.  Annual mammograms are covered by most insurance policies and are the cornerstone of early breast cancer detection.  Hannibal Regional’s dedicated staff provide the highest level of care for busy women. 

The special after hours dates for mammograms are October 2nd, October 16th, and October 30th from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.. You can schedule your appointment by calling 573-248-5688.

Hats From the Heart Bookmark

Red Hats

Pictured from left to right with some of the Auxiliary’s
Hats from the Heart are Jackie Schnelle, Nancy Cruse and Jane Bleigh.

To help raise awareness and celebrate Heart Month, members of Hannibal Regional Auxiliary have started a new program by knitting and crocheting red hats.  The red hats will be given out to babies born in February at Hannibal Regional Hospital.  Volunteers knitted and crocheted red hats to empower moms to live heart healthy lives and to help their children do the same.  “We are working to raise awareness and show support to Hannibal Regional for a healthy lifestyle.  We also love to make items for the newborn babies so it was a win-win!” shares Nancy Cruse, Chairman of the Knitting Committee. “We hope families will enjoy these during the month of February.”   Other committee members are Jackie Schnelle, Jane Bleigh, Beth Hansmeier, Brenda Higdon, Anne Cary, Roberta Thomas, Marie Wolpers and Priscilla Foreman.


Nitrous Oxide Used For Pain During Labor And Delivery Bookmark

Nurse, Mom, BabyHannibal, MO --Nitrous oxide is now being offered to women in labor at Hannibal Regional Chris Coons Women’s Care Center.

“ The use of nitrous oxide has been shown to be safe and effective in taking the edge off contractions, thus relieving some pain of childbirth and we are excited that Hannibal Regional is pioneering its use in the northeast Missouri area,” says, Linda Dinges, Chris Coons Women’s Care Director.  

Dr. John Bennett, medical director of the Hannibal Regional Hospital maternity ward, said nitrous oxide is preferred by some women over other pain-management remedies.

“This is a great option in pain management for women who want as little intervention as possible during labor, or if they are not an ideal candidate for spinal anesthesia or another form of pain management,” Bennett said.

For some women, the colorless, slightly sweet-smelling gas takes enough of the edge off contractions that they are better able to cope with their labor.

“Others say it reduces anxiety and may elicit feelings of well-being during contractions,” Dinges said. “Yet, as in natural childbirth, the woman remains fully aware of her labor contractions and fully attentive during the delivery.”

“Choosing nitrous oxide can be beneficial.  It is less invasive than spinal anesthesia, has fewer risks and is easy to administer,” Dinges said. “A woman in labor simply puts a small face mask over her mouth and nose and then inhales the gas, which she feels immediately. She then naturally releases the mask as she begins to feel more relaxed. Nitrous oxide does not have a numbing effect like spinal anesthesia, it’s mild and nontoxic and leaves the patient’s system within minutes once the patient stops using it.

Obstetricians who assist mothers with the birth of their baby at Hannibal Regional educate them during their prenatal appointments about the opportunity to use nitrous oxide in labor and delivery. The Women’s Care nursing team teaches women to use the gas mixture in labor. The woman breathes normally into a mask and with those breathes she inhales the 50/50 nitrous/ oxygen mixture. The process is initiated approximately 30 seconds before each contraction for the full effect, and it wears off within a few seconds between contractions. Mothers develop their own rhythm using the gas and have a trained RN at their bedside at all times while using the nitrous mixture.

By the conclusion of delivery, the nitrous has left the patient’s body completely. It does not interfere with feeding or caring for baby after birth.

Women in labor can stop using nitrous oxide at any time during labor and switch to another form of pain management, if they choose.

Kim Runquist recently gave birth at Hannibal Regional to a 9 lb. 10 oz. baby girl.  Kim used the nitrous oxide technique instead of other interventions frequently used in labor and delivery.  “ It was easy to use and very effective.  It definitely helped me to focus, relax and stay calm.  I inhaled slowly several times during a contraction.  When the contraction was over, the effects were gone.  After usage, I felt more in control and relaxed,” adds Kim.  “ I would definitely use this technique again.”

Nitrous oxide was used for labor pains in the United States until the 1970s, when its popularity diminished with the advent of spinal anesthesia. It is still routinely used in Great Britain and elsewhere in Europe, as well as in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

“We’re pleased to take this leadership step and make nitrous oxide available to our maternity patients,” said Dinges. It’s one of the many advances we’ve made to provide women and babies with state-of-the-art, individualized care before, during and after childbirth.  This alternative comfort measure continues with the availability of inflatable therapy balls, wireless fetal monitoring and the use of hydrotherapy in labor with a shower or tub.” “As a Baby Friendly designated hospital since July 2009, Hannibal Regional is committed to creating the best evidence-guided birth experience for every mother, every time.”

Today, there are approximately 300 hospitals using nitrous oxide for childbirth experiences, according to manufacturers of nitrous oxide systems. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology has issued a bulletin in support of nitrous oxide. Nitrous is cheaper than an epidural by hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars.

Hannibal Regional says more than 600 babies will be born in the Chris Coons Women’s Care Center in 2017.

Hannibal Regional serves residents of the tri-state area from more than ten locations and includes Hannibal Regional Hospital, Hannibal Regional Medical Group, and Hannibal Regional Foundation. Hannibal Regional Hospital is a 99-bed, acute care hospital providing comprehensive health and wellness services. Hannibal Regional is recognized as one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals™ for Coronary Intervention care and was also honored with the Healthgrades 2017 Joint Replacement Excellence Award™ placing Hannibal Regional among the top 10% in the nation for joint replacement procedures. Hannibal Regional is the only hospital in Missouri to receive both achievements 2 years in a row, 2016-2017. In addition, Hannibal Regional is recognized by Healthgrades with a 2016 Outstanding Patient Experience Award, putting them in the top 15% in the nation for this category.  Hannibal Regional Medical Group is a growing multi-specialty physician group delivering primary, specialty and express care services at multiple locations in northeast Missouri. For more information on Hannibal Regional Healthcare System, visit