What is a birth center?
A birth center is a home-like facility separate from the hospital where mothers can birth their babies. Our birth center is located within PCC South Family Health Center, one of the locations where patients receive prenatal care.
Is it safe?
Birth centers are safe options for mothers who present with low-risk factors. Our birth center is staffed with certified nurse-midwives (CNMs) and birth assistants who are trained in out-of-hospital birth. They have access to emergency medical equipment for both mother and baby if the need should arise. They will make sure the birth center is a safe place for mother and baby before, during, and after the birth.
If needed, PCC will transfer the mother or baby to West Suburban Medical Center, located only 2.2 miles away. Because our birth center is integrated into the PCC health care system, our CNMs or physicians care for patients that are transferred to the hospital for additional care. If a newborn needs Level III care, they will be transferred to Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
What does it mean to be low-risk?
A patient who is interested in birth center delivery must not have any major health concerns or complicated obstetric or gynecological history. In order to deliver in the birth center, a mother must deliver between 37 – 42 weeks gestation with one baby presenting “head down.” Patients must be checked by a provider regularly throughout pregnancy to make sure delivering at the birth center remains a safe option.
If you are interested in birth center care, you can schedule an appointment with a PCC Midwife. The midwife can review your health history and make sure a birth center delivery is right for you. Call 708-317-3035 to speak with us.
Are there other requirements?
Overall, to deliver in the birth center, you must sign a consent form, attend a free childbirth education class, and make decisions to keep yourself and your baby healthy. Please see our web page about birth center eligibility for more information.
Will insurance cover delivery in the birth center?
PCC accepts most Medicaid Managed Care plans and many commercial insurance. However, birth centers are new in Illinois so patients should talk to their insurance carriers and PCC’s billing department as soon as possible. Birth center staff and our financial counselors can help patients figure out what to expect from their insurance companies. We also offer a sliding scale for people who qualify.
How do I know when to come?
Your midwife will spend lots of time during clinic visits talking to you about signs of labor. When you think you might be having early signs of labor, you will call the midwife to talk about when you should come to the birth center. We want mothers to come to the birth center once active labor has started, so you may make a few calls to the midwife before deciding to come. Together, you will decide when is the right time to come to the birth center. Sometimes, mothers decide to leave for the birth center soon after labor begins if they have already had a baby, if weather is bad, or if they live far away.
Always call the midwife before coming! We want to make sure to be there to greet you!
Where do I park?
The parking spots next to the health center are saved for birth center patients. You can park in those spots. If they are not empty, pull up to the side of the building and the PCC staff will help move the other cars to make room for yours.
What should I bring?
Your midwife will go over this information in the weeks leading up to your birth. Visit this web page for some tips.
Who can come to the birth?
The birth center is family-friendly. We welcome guests of the laboring mother who are respectful and supportive of the mother and their decision to birth in the birth center. If you bring children to the birth, they must be watched by another adult who is not the mother in labor. We want you to feel comfortable the whole time, so you may ask guests to leave the room or birth center at any time. Guests may not come if they have any symptoms of an infectious disease or illness.
With two family rooms, refrigerator, and microwave, family members and support persons will be comfortable while the mother is in labor. Guests should bring their own meals and snacks. After delivery, we recommend guests (except for one labor support person) go home so that they are well rested and available to help the laboring mother once she gets home.
How long will mothers stay in the birth center?
Mothers are admitted to the birth center when they are in active labor and stay until after the birth. Birth center care includes an early discharge and a lot of follow-up care. Mothers who are having their first babies will stay in the birth center between 8-12 hours after birth. Mothers who have already had a baby will stay between 6-12 hours. Before a family goes home, we will make sure the laboring mother and the baby are stable and rested, we will order a full meal for them to enjoy in bed, and will make sure the baby has started to breastfeed.
All patients receive a home-visit 24-36 hours after birth for a check-up. This is followed by a clinic visit for mother and baby 3-4 days after birth. Finally, mother and baby return to the clinic for a 6-week visit. Patients can come to the clinic for extra visits when needed.
Can I get a birth certificate at the birth center?
Yes. More information can be found here.
How can I deal with the pain of labor?
At the birth center, mothers deliver naturally without pain medication. Our midwives stay close by to help mothers cope with labor discomfort. Many patients find comfort using the hot shower, tub, massage, or heat packs for pain relief. Mothers can move around and find a comfortable position using a yoga ball, the full size bed, or a birthing stool.
Can mothers deliver in the tub?
Yes! As long as the midwife has no medical reason to have you leave the tub, you can deliver in water.
Can I have a VBAC at the birth center?
If you have already had a Cesarean birth, then you can deliver with the PCC Midwives at West Suburban Medical Center. The Alternative Birthing Center rooms are very comfortable. There two rooms are dedicated to natural birth. They each have full-sized beds, private bathroom with shower, and birthing tub. We have a portable fetal monitor so that you can move around and even have a waterbirth if you would like.
Can I bring a doula? Aromatherapy oils? An iPod? A camera?
Yes! We love doulas.
Can I bring a birth plan?
Yes, you can bring it into an office visit and discuss it with the midwife. We will then keep it in your chart.
Can I bring aromatherapy oils?
Sure! Aromatherapy oils are fine, but please check with staff about allergies before you open them up.
Can I bring my iPod?
Can I bring a camera or photographer?
Yes! We may ask you to sign a form if you plan on documenting the delivery. Please talk to your midwife if you think you want to take video.
Can mothers wear their own clothes for the birth?
Absolutely. Bring something comfortable for labor and for after birth. We have gowns but you do not have to wear them.
Can we do delayed cord clamping?
Yes! If for some reason the midwife has a medical reason to clamp the cord sooner, she will let you know.
Can I hold the baby skin-to-skin after delivery?
Yes, we recommend it.
Can I keep my baby with me at all times?
We will encourage you to! There is a crib if you want to place baby down, but the bed is big enough for all.
Can I keep my placenta?
Yes. We will ask you to sign a waiver and will talk to you in the office about what to bring to the birth center in order to safely bring your placenta home.