How to Have a Baby


Another midwife case is in the news.

Many Amish women prefer bearing their children at home or in specially-constructed birthing centers.  Reasons include the comfort of being in familiar surroundings as opposed to the foreign environment of the hospital, as well as cost.

It’s usually a lot cheaper to have a child at home than in a hospital.  The Amish have 6-8 children on average, and don’t carry health insurance, (which means all doctor’s bills come out-of-pocket) so this can make a big difference.

Amish midwives are experienced and trained to handle the job.  Doctors are usually available at short notice and are even present at many of the births.  In special cases, such as breech births or twins, hospitalization is usually required.

A great book by Dorcas Sharp Hoover, called House Calls and Hitching Posts, describes the career of Dr. Elton Lehman among the Amish of Wayne and Holmes counties in Ohio.  Perhaps the most well-known Amish midwife, ‘Bill’ Barb Hochstetler, plays a prominent part.

No doubt the midwife in this story (no longer online), who is not Amish, is pretty capable, having undergone a 3-year apprenticeship and holding certification from a national organization.

Also, she has 25 years of experience.  Apparently the state is taking her to task for practicing without a Pennsylvania license.

Having practiced in PA for 5 years already, seems like she’s gone under the radar for quite some time.  Are they trying her to make a point?

Hopefully a sensible resolution can be reached–she could be fined up to $40,000.

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    1. I wanted to point out that Ms. Goslin is “practicing without a Pennsylvania license” because Pennsylvania does not offer licensure to direct-entry midwives. The state only licenses nurse-midwives, which are a slightly different profession.

    2. Amish midwife controversy

      Thanks for pointing that out on the Amish midwife issue. In the article lack of licensure seems to be cited as the main complaint against her.

      From the article sounds like PA requires them to be outright RNs…or nurse-midwives as you describe it. If they do crack down I imagine this would get a big response from the Plain community. Amish for instance give birth at much higher rates in non-traditional settings and they value their midwives.

      Having checked out your blog looks like you’re a lot more qualified to comment on this than I am.