Amish Birth Center
It’s time! The contractions are coming every 5 minutes and her water just broke. Katie’s husband David hurriedly hitches the horses to the carriage and the Amish couple start the five-mile journey to the Birth Center. David cast a concerned glance in Katie’s direction. Since this is Katie’s fifth baby, labor could move along quickly. He hopes they still have enough time.
Meanwhile at the Birth Center, the midwife and her staff, having been alerted by phone that Katie’s on her way, await her arrival. Finally the carriage pulls up and Katie is ushered into the birthing room which looks like a comfortable bedroom. Katie is settled in and checked carefully. She doesn’t have much time to spare. Forty minutes later Rebecca makes a noisy entrance into the world. All is OK with Katie and Rebecca, so in about four hours David will take them home. Tomorrow the midwife will make a home visit to check up on them.
Do the Amish give birth at home?
Like Katie and David, many Amish chose not to have their baby in a hospital. Instead they chose to deliver at home or at a Birth Center. Amish chose these nontraditional birth methods for a variety of reasons. First, they prefer the more comfortable environment of a Birth Center or their own home to that of a hospital. Second and perhaps even more important is the issue of cost.
Do the Amish have Health Insurance?
Since Amish do not own health insurance, they have to pay all birth expenses out of their own pocket. Midwife assisted births at home or at a Birth Center costs much less than at a hospital. This difference in price becomes even more significant when you consider that most Amish have large families with four or more children.
What do Amish Midwives do?
For Katie, the services offered by a Birth Center extended far beyond the birthday. She went there for all her prenatal care. During the entire time, she was assisted by a nurse midwife working under the direction of a physician. If any problems had arisen, she would have been referred to a doctor or sent to the hospital. After the birth, she will continue to visit the Center for routine health care including immunizations and checkups for her children and herself.