Things to Know
To provide women and their families with a safe and welcoming environment
that respects spiritual, physical, social, psychological, and economic needs.
BWHC opened in 2004 and is licensed by the Kansas Department of Health & Environment. It was built as a cooperative effort by Amish & Mennonite churches in Reno County who continue to provide board oversight.
Our center provides an alternative for childbearing families who anticipate a low-risk pregnancy and birth. We believe that childbearing is a normal event, not an illness. Within limits of safety, the entire birth experience can be as individualized as the client desires.
Our birth and women’s health center provides:
- Prenatal care, birthing services, and postpartum care
- Childbirth education classes
- A homelike country setting ideal for natural childbirth
- Two attractive birth rooms, each with a private bathroom equipped with air jet tubs for labor relaxation
- A cozy kitchen/family room available for meal preparation & relaxation as the family and the laboring mother choose. (A birthday cake is baked here to celebrate the baby’s arrival.)
- Freedom to labor as the client chooses, with or without medication
- Family-centered care in which the baby remains with the parents during the entire stay here
- Early discharge to home (average stay approximately 6 hours postpartum) with two follow-up home visits or phone calls
- Women’s health care for women ages 10-99, including annual exams and Pap smears, family planning, and gynecological care
Birth Center Tour
If you’re thinking about getting pregnant, we can help. A preconception appointment may include a basic health and wellness assessment. At this visit we often discuss nutrition, exercise, weight management, and risk factors affecting pregnancy. Many recommendations on vitamins, herbs, and medications will change if you are planning a pregnancy, since the first trimester is such a critical time of embryonic development and organ formation.
Another fun topic to review at a preconception appointment is the fertility cycle. We can look at your individual ovulation charting and discuss possibilities or concerns. Hormones drive so many factors in a woman’s cycle, and each woman is different. We can help you tailor a plan for your specific needs and goals.
Congratulations! You’re pregnant! Now what? Well, give us a call and set up your first prenatal appointment. We often like to see you to start the registration process about two weeks after you get a positive home pregnancy test. When we talk about gestational weeks, we are referring to how many weeks it has been since the first day of your last menstrual cycle. So, you are usually 4 weeks when you get your positive home pregnancy test, and we like to see you shortly after that. We like to start prenatal care at 6-8 weeks.
At the first prenatal visit we will discuss any risk factors or concerns, and go over some ideas on treating first trimester symptoms. We will also go over what things are safe in pregnancy and what is not recommended. This includes things like vitamins, medications, and exercise. Prenatal visits will be monthly in the first two trimesters, and more frequently when you get closer to your due date.
During prenatal appointments at the birth center we focus on your and your baby’s well-being, giving attention to the normal changes that occur during pregnancy. First visits typically last an hour, and revisits 20-30 minutes, so we can get acquainted with your individual wishes and philosophy. A personalized birth plan is developed when nearing the due date so that we can help make your birth exactly what you have always dreamed of.
If complications arise, the nurse-midwives will collaborate with an obstetrician or family practice physician to make sure both you and your baby are safe.
The birth center is a homelike facility designed to provide safe care for women who anticipate a normal pregnancy. Risk factors of concern are medical problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, previous C-section, high BMI, or a twin pregnancy. These problems may require a hospital birth.
Our birth center is located in a quiet country setting ideal for natural childbirth. We encourage women to stay in the comfort of their own homes while in early labor, and come in when labor becomes more intense. Monitoring of the baby is done with a hand-held Doppler which allows freedom of movement in labor.
When someone calls in labor, the nurse-midwife will meet her at the birth center to evaluate progress. When the time of birth comes close, another nurse-midwife or registered nurse will be called in to assist. Both staff members present at the birth are trained to manage emergencies associated with labor, birth, and newborn resuscitation. Family members may be present if the mother desires. Family and friends may come to visit, admire, and get acquainted with the new baby, and everyone can share the freshly baked cake for this birthday party!
Most families get to go home about 6 hours after the birth, when breastfeeding is well established and everyone is ready to head out. Detailed instructions are given before dismissal, including how to take newborn vital signs. A 24-hour visit will be done by phone or in the home, followed by a 48-hour home visit. Return office visits include a two-week and a six-week postpartum appointment.
As soon as a baby is born he goes straight to mom’s tummy for skin-to-skin time, and is dried off while we wait for the cord to stop pulsating. Babies are usually ready to breastfeed after about 30 minutes, and our staff is well trained to help in this new adventure.
The newborn assessment and weight will be done right in the bed with mom. The routine newborn medications, eye ointment and vitamin K, will be given unless declined by the parents.
Certified nurse-midwives are licensed to care for newborns up to 6 weeks of age. The baby will then be seen for routine visits with their pediatric provider.
The birth center also provides primary health care to all women from pre-puberty through post- menopause. We provide annual exams, pap smears, breast exams, and contraception, as well as non- GYN issues like sore throats and thyroid monitoring.
What is a birth center?
The American Association of Birth Centers (AABC) defines the birth center as “a homelike facility existing within the health care system with a program of care designed in the wellness model of pregnancy and birth. Birth centers provide family-centered care for healthy women before, during, and after normal pregnancy, labor, and birth.” It is designed for those who wish to participate actively in every phase of the childbearing experience.
Who may have a baby at the birth center?
Women who anticipate a normal pregnancy and birth, without medical problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, previous C-section, high BMI, or a twin pregnancy.
Is it safe to have a baby at a birth center?
Studies examining the outcomes of birth center care reveal the safety of midwifery-led care as well as consistently low obstetric intervention rates. For example, the C-section rate for low-risk women giving birth in hospitals is approximately 25% versus 6% for those delivering in birthing centers in the United States. – Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health, 2013
“Anyone who has ever seen a midwife with a woman in labor or been delivered by a midwife would never go back to a doctor.” – Dr. Terry L. Cole, a CA obstetrician, Every Baby Magazine, August 2004
What happens in an emergency during labor or birth?
The nurse-midwives are qualified to effectively manage emergencies associated with labor and birth. In an event requiring transfer to a hospital, or for those women with a known condition that requires a hospital birth, the midwives have hospital privileges in Lyons, KS. They will accompany the client to the Lyons hospital and will usually be able to deliver the baby unless a C-Section is needed. They have collaborative arrangements with physicians in Sterling, Hutchinson, and Wichita, KS for complications. The patient may go by private vehicle or by ambulance to the facility most appropriate for the emergency (Hutchinson, Lyons, or Wichita).
What kind of equipment do you have at the birth center?
The birth center has equipment to monitor the baby’s heartbeat using a hand-held Doppler, and the routine medications used for babies, as well as medications for emergencies such as oxygen, equipment to resuscitate a baby or mother, intravenous fluids, and medications for postpartum bleeding.
When do I make my first appointment to start prenatal care?
A registration visit is usually scheduled at approximately 6 to 8 weeks to get acquainted, review obstetrical and medical history, and draw lab work. The next visit is at approximately 11-12 weeks to hear your baby’s heartbeat.
What can I expect during a prenatal visit?
You will be expected to be involved in your care and in decision making to suit your preferences. This includes weighing yourself and performing a simple urine check with each visit. The midwives will take your blood pressure, evaluate the growth of your baby, and listen to your baby’s heartbeat. There will be time to discuss your questions and concerns. First visits typically last an hour, and revisits 20 to 30 minutes.
Can I walk during my labor?
The birth center model of care encourages frequent position changes and walking during labor. You may walk outside in our private back yard if desired. Monitoring is done with a hand-held Doppler. You will have freedom to move around without being hooked up to monitors.
Is there pain medication available?
Pain medication is available if the client chooses that option. The deep labor tubs are also very helpful for pain management, as is the support of the nurse-midwife.
Will insurance cover my birth?
BWHC accepts most major insurance companies including Blue Cross & Blue Shield and Medicaid. Self-pay clients are also welcome.