Things to Know

Our Vision

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
  • Lactation clinic offering breastfeeding education and support

Birth Center Tour

Getting Pregnant

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.


Baby Care

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.


Women's Health Care

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.  Self-pay clients are also welcome.


Callie's Birth

Megan's Birth

Trimester Chart

  • 4

    Month 1

    Week 1
    Your body is changing, it's time to prepare.

    Week 2
    More rapid changes are on the way!

    Week 3
    Your baby is now at the Blatocyst Stage.

    Week 4
    You may start to feel pregnant.
    Time to take a test!

  • 8

    Month 2

    Week 5
    You will start to notice more pregnancy symptoms.

    Week 6
    All baby's vital organs are in place.

    Week 7
    Baby's brain develops.

    Week 8
    Your baby is officially a fetus!

  • 13

    Month 3

    Week 9-10
    Your baby has definite human features.

    Week 11
    Your sickness eases.

    Week 12
    Time for a first scan.

    Week 13
    Second trimester begins.

1st Trimester

.04 oz - .49 oz
  • 17

    Month 4

    Week 14
    Sexual organs in place, fingerprints visible.

    Week 15
    Your baby will recognize voices and flavors.

    Week 16
    Limbs and joints are developed, baby gets mobile.

    Week 17
    Baby is growing at a rapid pace and gaining functions each day.

  • 21

    Month 5

    Week 18
    Your baby's sex is identifiable in scan.

    Week 19
    Your baby's hair grows.

    Week 20
    Time for 20 week scan!

    Week 21
    Your baby's taste buds are developing.

  • 26

    Month 6

    Week 22-23
    Baby's senses grow.

    Week 24
    Baby's lungs start to mature steadily.

    Week 25
    Baby is preparing to breath air.

    Week 26
    The second trimester now ends, well done!

2nd Trimester

.49 oz - 1.93 lb
  • 30

    Month 7

    Week 27
    The third trimester begins - keep fit and healthy.

    Week 28
    Baby's heartbeat is especially strong now.

    Week 29
    Mothers can count babies' kicks easily this week.

    Week 30
    Baby is preparing for life out of the womb.

  • 34

    Month 8

    Week 31
    Mothers can expect Braxton Hicks contractions now.

    Week 32
    Baby gets into birth position around this stage.

    Week 33
    Baby's immune system will develop.

    Week 34
    Baby is getting ready for birth.

  • 40

    Month 9

    Week 35
    Mothers should ensure birth plans are clear.

    Week 36
    Baby is likely to be engaged by now.

    Week 37
    Your baby is now full term...birth is near!

    Week 38-40
    Patience is the word! Rest and prepare.

*units in weeks

3rd Trimester

1.93 lb - 7.63 lb

News articles about us

Hutch Magazine  Winter 2016:

Link pages 20-25

Download our brochure

The Birth & Women’s Health Center serves women and their babies regardless of their ability to pay who meet the criteria for low-risk pregnancy and primary care. Discounts are offered based on the federal poverty guidelines for family size and income.  For more information about discounted services please talk with our office manager.  If you are interested in receiving discounted services, please bring at least one of the following documents to your appointment to determine your eligibility. Documents include last year W-2, two most recent pay stubs, letter from employer, or Form 4506-T (if W-2 not filed). Self-employed individuals will be required to submit detail of the most recent three months of income and expenses for the business. Adequate information must be made available to determine eligibility for the discounted services.

News articles

“Outcomes of Care in Birth Centers:  Demonstration of a Durable Model”

Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health, Jan/Feb 2013 – Link


“New Evidence Confirms Birth Centers Provide Top-Notch Care”

AABC news, Jan. 2013 – Link

For more information about nurse-midwives and birth centers:

Other birth centers in KS