Home Births on the High Plains


Recent data from the CDC shows home births are on the rise in the U.S. The growth is slow - the total percentage of out of hospital births was at 1.36% in 2012, though it has been growing over the past decade.

Locally, some Panhandle moms are choosing home over hospital when it comes to giving birth.

"It's much different. What you're getting with a midwife and a home birth setting is as different as night and day when you compare it to a hospital," Sandra Elkins, a local Midwife said.  

Sandra Elkins is a licensed midwife here on the High Plains. She went through the licensing process, involving education and apprenticeship and is also a certified nurse.

For Elkins, home birth is all about making the mother feel comfortable.

"So much of it is about having a good experience, one that really nurtures that mother and child bonding," Elkins said. 

That more personal experience is why women we talked with say they chose the home birth option.

Michelle Knevelbaard has her first child in a hospital, and then chose home birth for her next two children.

"I decided there must be a better way to have a baby, and once I found out the safety and the experience of having a home birth, seemed to match what I wanted much better," Knevelbaard said. 

For Brianne Medart -Tallant, who will give birth to her second child at home this summer, there was never a question.

"I was born at home myself.  It was the only option for me," Medart-Tallant said. 

And there's one thing these women want to make clear.

"What I want people to know about home birth is it is safe," Medart-Tallant said. 

When it comes to safety, Elkins says, only women with non-emergency preganacies are eligbile for home birth.

She performs everything from blood work to ultrasounds during monthly check-ups with her clients. 

Rebecca Strickler teaches a child-birth class locally.

She says most of her students choose hospital birth, although she had a home birth and says interest is growing.

"How would you explain the difference? It's hard to. But yeah I think it's on the rise as far as information and participation," Strickler said.

Something different than a traditional hospital birth, that more moms are seeking out.

Locally, in 2010, 16 home births were recorded in Amarillo. In 2011 that number was 23, in 2012, there were 24 recorded home births, and in 2013, there were 23 home births.

To see the CDC study, click here.

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