Georgiana West — pioneer midwife of the San Luis Valley

CONEJOS COUNTY — “Hurry, Hurry, Georgiana, the baby is coming!” What did pioneer expectant mothers do when a baby was due and unable to go to a hospital?
They called on Georgiana West. Many women of the southern end of the San Luis Valley called on this skilled mid-wife and nurse. She delivered over 1,000 babies, between 1915 thru 1963.
Georgiana’s home was located about one mile north of the state line between Colorado and New Mexico. She also tended to many mothers who lived in New Mexico. The State of New Mexico licensed mid-wives, Colorado never licensed mid-wives, but required a filing of birth records.
Georgiana assisted women in San Luis, San Acacio, Joroso, La Jara and Antonito.
She traveled to the homes where she was needed, by such modes as horse and buggy, tractors, sled, jeeps, and in cars. Some deliveries had to be accomplished under primitive conditions with very little means for good sanitation; she tried to keep mother and baby as clean as possible. On rare occasions, there might be only one bed in the home, and it would be occupied with an ailing or elderly family member.
Georgina never lost a mother; few babies were still born or died soon after birth. During the last 10years of her practice, she would take care of the mothers in her own home. She charged $25.00, which included delivery of the baby, room and board, and care for mother and baby for about three days after delivery. If a family was unable to pay Georgiana, she would accept whatever they could pay.
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Reference: “The San Luis Valley Historian”. Volume IX. Number 4. 1977.


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