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November 21, 1980

Home Deliveries: A Changing Amish Pattern

JAMA. 1980;244(20):2262-2263. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310200014009

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To the Editor.—  Amidst cries, concerns, and controversies (243:1732, 1980) that English (the word the Amish use for people who are not Amish) people are expressing about home births, there appears to be a group moving in the opposite direction. While most continue to have their births in a home, the Amish (a conservative Anabaptist church with Mennonite heritage) seem to be moving toward centralization of obstetrical care.My experience with Amish people in Holmes County, Ohio, is that historically these people have always had deliveries in their own or their parents' home, with the mother or grandmother serving as the lay midwife. Now some have shifted toward birthing at one centralized Amish home that is set up for the birth.In one case, the downstairs of a large farmhouse is divided into a room where the woman labors, a room where the baby is delivered (complete with a wooden