Meet Noelle, the Life-Size Childbirth Simulator

MCLI-Birthing-MannequinPreparation. It’s the key to a smooth childbirth.

Whether you’re a new mom finding comfort in the structure of a birth plan, a dad-to-be learning how to console his wife during labor or even the doctor in charge of delivery, preparation helps pave the way to success.

And before success comes practice. In the wild world of childbirth, things can change in an instant. Doctors and nurses must be prepared and ready to handle any scenario.

That’s where Noelle comes in.

Noelle, named by the manufacturer, is a life-size childbirth simulator. At the control of a computer, she can be programmed for 49 different birthing scenarios.

“The big ones we run are vaginal delivery, shoulder dystocia, breech and postpartum hemorrhage,” Tim Milner, Simulation Center tech, said. “She can be intubated, have catheters or even have seizures. Basically anything we program her to do.”

Noelle has a liquid tank and air compressor built in that make each scenario more life-like. She blinks, talks, has a removable stomach cover and is even able to dilate and simulate vaginal tearing. Trainees, usually residents and nurses, can monitor her vitals, administer an IV and even perform sutures with a special attachment.

“It’s just good to practice those scenarios you don’t see a lot,” Milner said. “Residents can go on call, and they may or may not see a delivery. So this gives them the simulated experience to come in and practice.”

Noelle trains residents and nurses in partnership with Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and is housed in the Memorial Center for Learning and Innovation. In her time here, she’s given birth hundreds of times and provided necessary training to countless medical professionals.  Although the babies may not be real, the hands-on practice she delivers is immeasurable.

“We get a lot of great feedback from residents,” Milner said. “She’s been a real asset.”

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